A Universal Impulse
Drugs can bestow remarkable powers, but only to those who are primed to receive them. The hallucinatory derangement of virola
snuff will overwhelm anyone who ingests enough of it, but for most it will be recalled (if at all) as a fever dream of fragmentary impressions, dominated by sensations of burning sinuses and overwhelming nausea. It is an intensely personal ordeal, but can only be understood in a social context. Unlike animal intoxication, human drug use takes place within a web of verbal and symbolic culture, and it is here that its meanings reside.
In 1953 Howard S. Becker, a young sociologist...