by Stephen Sagarin, 11th grade advisor – 14 Oct 2004
Warning teenagers about the physiological and even the emotional effects of drug use has little value; who feels more immortal and invincible than a teen?
Over twenty years of teaching, I have come to believe strongly, however, that a description of the spiritual effects of drug experimentation can help teenagers choose not to use mind-altering drugs.
Regardless of points of view and interpretation, we teachers in Waldorf schools and Steiner schools share a unity of purpose and vision, and this centers around an understanding of the existence of a spiritual dimension to our world.
When we experience truth – as in the truth of a geometric proof – or beauty – as in a piece of music – we partake of the non-physical, of the spiritual.
A piano produces vibrations, but a human being hears music. Our perceptions of the world can lead us to understand spiritual perception.
Anything we do, then, that distorts our perception of the world makes it more difficult to follow a path that will lead to understanding of the truly spiritual.
This is especially true if the distortion has the quality of spiritual experience, as it does under the influence of mind-altering drugs.
It is not that hallucinations, mild or profound, are illusory because they are false. They are dangerous precisely because they are unearned, unmoored openings into truth and beauty.
And who, shown an easy path, will choose the harder one, especially if the ends are unknown?
(This brief article is a synopsis of remarks Mr. Sagarin made to the high school in a recent forum.)