• Skalidris
    118
    I’ve always struggled to understand the appeal for mind altering substances. Whenever I tried it, it just felt like a dream where I wasn’t fully in control of my thoughts, and I never liked it. Why do humans want to escape their mind and avoid reality? How is it an advantage?
    Even when reality triggers negative feelings, it’s more efficient to be sober and think about a solution rather than choosing denial by getting drunk, so why do 99% of humans long for that state at least once in their life? Why haven’t we evolved out of this?

    And it’s not just alcohol and drugs, people tell themselves all sort of things to stay in their denial to avoid facing their problems. I don’t believe this is just a random trait that stayed within us while having no advantages, so what could it be? Maybe if we weren’t driven to choose denial whenever something is too horrible, we would be totally insane and couldn’t deal with reality. Maybe we would be constantly having existential crisis, and discrediting things we intuitively care about. What do you think?
  • RogueAI
    2.7k
    If someone offered you a million dollars on the condition you could never drink again...I wouldn't take the money.
  • Tom Storm
    8.7k
    I find this an odd question.

    Humans seem to have always enjoyed altering their consciousness and augmenting their quotidian experiences through all manner of activities - sex, exercise, hiking, travelling, flying, sky diving, deep sea diving, exploring, rock climbing, art, dance, music, cinema, performance, costume, meditation, gambling, massage... these expressions of exhilaration are practically endless. Drugs are just another way of doing this. They can make life a bit more interesting and fun. Sure it's not everyone's cup of tea (or tequila) but not everyone enjoys sex either, so there is that. Nothing is compulsory. And not all things we do for kicks are equally safe. Sex and drugs can easily lead one into trouble.

    You seem to hold a presupposition that substances use is a character flaw. This is hard wired into a lot of Protestant cultures. It is also the case that most people who use substances don't suffer issues of addiction. Addiction is a whole separate matter. Again - people can become addicted to sex, shopping, eating, booze and gambling, just to name a few.
  • Vera Mont
    3.8k
    I’ve always struggled to understand the appeal for mind altering substances.Skalidris

    Reality is not always pleasant. Sometimes it's so unpleasant that people are desperate to escape it, even for a short time. (If it gets any worse, they'll find a way to escape it permanently.)
    But alcohol is not primarily about escape or alteration of mind. In moderation it's a lubricant to conviviality; a way to feel lighter, warmer, more open-minded and accepting than when our minds are cluttered with practical problems and frustrations. In more difficult situations, it's an analgesic of sorts: a means of numbing psychic pain.
    If you never have such feelings, count yourself lucky. If you never have such cravings, count yourself exceptional. But never, never count yourself superior.
  • NOS4A2
    8.7k


    Alcohol is a link to Eros. It is a component of culture, spirituality, celebration, and general merrymaking. So though it could be used to deny reality, I suppose, it often serves to introduce happiness, fellowship, and beauty to it.
  • jgill
    3.7k
    Many thousands of years ago beer was the most popular beverage in Egypt, with pyramid workers getting paid their wages in beer. It was safer to drink than water from the Nile.
  • Wayfarer
    21.5k
    I struggle to understand why it's a struggle to understand. Even elephants and monkeys were said to seek out and eat fermented fruit for its intoxicating powers. (It's said that it is wise to avoid an intoxicated elephant.) I guess I've regularly imbibed most of my life, and the reason is very simple - it induces a feeling of relaxation, warmth and ease which rubs off a lot of the sharp edges of the day-to-day.

    Saying that, I'm also guiltily aware that if one is properly 'tuned up' - that is, physical fit and mentally calm - then it is likely the need for such artificial aides to well-being will correspondingly be reduced.

    That's the theory, anyway.
  • Vera Mont
    3.8k
    That's the theory, anyway.Wayfarer

    Who cares? Beer is good!
  • Wayfarer
    21.5k
    Imbibing, as I read this, so can’t credibly disagree. ‘Reckless Brewing’, one of the hundreds of ‘craft breweries’ now operating in this part of the world.
  • BC
    13.4k
    It was safer to drink than water from the Nile.jgill

    The idea that beer and wine were safer than the Nile, the Rhine, or the Thames is floated again and again. We know that that drinking water from the Danube, Tigris Euphrates, or Congo Rivers might be unsafe, but we have known that for less than 200 years. People certainly understood that some water tasted better than other water, but as for safety... not back then.

    People drank beer in preference to river water because of those mind-altering features of alcohol.
  • BC
    13.4k
    Why do humans want to escape their mind and avoid reality?Skalidris

    It's entertaining. The religious rites of the Eleusinian Mystery cult at Eleusis (Ancient Greece) involved drugs, alcohol, and vision seeing. People did go there for the mysteries, but they also went there because it was interesting, festive, and fun.

    I've always found a couple of beers a necessary, reliable, and effective social lubricant. .
  • BC
    13.4k
    I know some abstemious people who really should get drunk more often, for their own and everybody else's sanity.
  • Jamal
    9.3k
    Why do humans want to escape their mind and avoid reality? How is it an advantage?Skalidris

    Some things are just a bonus.

    Even elephants and monkeys were said to seek out and eat fermented fruit for its intoxicating powers.Wayfarer

    Small point: monkeys are more than just said to enjoy alcohol. It's been observed in wild situations, i.e., not just those monkeys stealing cocktails on the beach.

    I didn't know about elephants though. A drunk elephant could do a lot of damage.
  • javi2541997
    5.4k
    It is so rooted in our society because the 'system' promotes the consumption of alcohol and other similar products which are equally dangerous - tobacco, for example - for the sort of enjoyment. Furthermore, the state even collects revenue thanks to the consumption of both cigarettes and booze, when these are a threat to our health, actually. I do not want to sound 'puritan' nor condemn the people who usually drink or smoke, but it is obvious that it is not an activity of enjoyment.

    Although it is true that some drink to avoid problems, others do so to face them and get more confidence. I don't know if some of you had to deal with alcoholics, but I had to. It doesn't cause any confidence when their only purpose is to waste their income or pension on a drink at the bar. This is the thing that bothers me the most. An alcohol-dependent acts legally. We cannot ban them from buying alcohol or going to a bar. It is stunning the number of people who destroy their life - or even die - because of this. But the state doesn't care because it hasn't forced you to 'consume'... Is this really true? I think it is literally the opposite. It is the environment which forces us to be drinkers or smokers, because they are acts of developed societies.
  • Sebrof
    3

    As already pointed out, alcohol consumption, among other common insidious parctices, is a breadead easy way to iron out stressful periods, but it's not the "objectively" correct solution. The alternative is too difficult i.e. being healthy (fitness, diet, sleep, socialising). If everyone on Earth were even slightly better, these cultural indulences would disappear, but everyone would appear robotic and liveless. There's a lot to unpack when it comes to conventions of such large scale. I mean, its not hard to imagine what you should be doing yourself, but there's no way of exactly realising it.
  • Outlander
    2k
    This can't be a serious question. Though, I once met an Uber driver once who, when the conversational topic of alcohol randomly came up, informed me he couldn't drink it, as in his body couldn't tolerate or process it correctly. Hiding my deepest sympathies I lightheartedly replied, good for him and mentioned the dangers and potential lethality. Boy was I relieved to arrive at my destination and escape being in the mire of such a grim fate bestowed upon someone.

    Whenever I tried it, it just felt like a dream where I wasn’t fully in control of my thoughts, and I never liked it.Skalidris

    It simply wasn't for you then. Just not something you need or should be consuming.

    Why do humans want to escape their mind and avoid reality? How is it an advantage?Skalidris

    Kind of asking two completely different albeit vaguely and circumstantially related questions here. Your experience is exactly, that. Your experience. Completely unique from 8 billion others. Sure many are like you, and if a thing is a hindrance, which it is to many, then cast it away.

    For the majority of responsible consumers of alcohol who can handle it, it's a welcome reprieve. For some a distraction, for others a way to focus. A "social lubricant" it is called by many. It puts the majority of, again responsible consumers who can process it correctly, in a "good mood" of sorts. Certainly there's an argument for your disposition as though it does seem to make problems disappear, responsible drinkers know this is an illusion and temporary state, and know they cannot simply avoid them or avoid work toward resolution of said problems. In short, it allows the majority of people to have a quick and cheap good time even in hard times.

    It is easy to fall into complacence and avoid one's responsibilities however, yes. Abuse can be harrowing and indeed fatal. One can indeed lose everything. This happens quite often. For many, especially the less intellectually inclined, it is in fact best avoided. At least, habitually.

    Even when reality triggers negative feelings, it’s more efficient to be sober and think about a solution rather than choosing denial by getting drunkSkalidris

    Just because you're sober or awake, as you think, doesn't mean you're any more coherent or in touch with the absolute nature of things than someone who is perhaps a bit less than sober. Not automatically, that is. Sure plenty of habitual consumers of alcohol ie. "drunks" are in fact dregs of society, but for many, this remains true whether sober or not.

    Again, your experience is your own, and if that experience is fact for you, I would continue and have no argument whatsoever. As far as you and your individual, private choices that can be shared, if one asks.

    why do 99% of humans long for that state at least once in their life?Skalidris

    Oh come now. I doubt you've even met 0.0001% of humans. These inane generalizations are textbook characteristics of exactly the kind of person who should not be drinking, save for a special occasion under supervision by fellow citizens (friends) and supervisors (bartenders) perhaps? :smile:

    Why haven’t we evolved out of this?Skalidris

    Why not ask why aren't we all the stereotypical, imagined grey alien, content with standing around with nary an emotion, whim, or desire for any amount of time? Because life is about change. You become aware. You can learn to walk, learn to run, learn to ride a bike. It goes on.

    Understood, in your purported, limited experience it creates an uncontrollable state of mind. Understand this is not the norm. Not when reasonable care and moderation is taken.

    But if the question boils down or becomes tangential to "why do people like to feel pleasure and ignore pain", well. It becomes quite moot and elementary at that point. Wouldn't you say?

    people tell themselves all sort of things to stay in their denial to avoid facing their problems. I don’t believe this is just a random trait that stayed within us while having no advantages, so what could it be? Maybe if we weren’t driven to choose denial whenever something is too horrible, we would be totally insane and couldn’t deal with realitySkalidris

    You seem to be entranced by the word or concept of 'denial' so let me tell you a story based on the truths and falsehoods of what people commonly prescribe to be a case or "unchangeable situation" of such.

    Two brothers became trapped in a cave once. A seemingly inescapable situation where the mouth of the cave collapsed thus sending their rappelling gear and ropes down and making the opening impossible to reach. The men quickly resorted to their primitive state, after consuming all their rations, eating bugs and each waking up early to gather the liberal stream of leaking water nearby. They fought once, nearly killing one another, but in the end decided if they were trapped without any hope of rescue, any one killing the other would do little but prolong the inevitable, and curse the lone survivor to perish under the burden of a needless murder that ultimately changed naught. So they explored what little they could. Their sources of illumination (flashlights, matches, a lighter) soon expired and became inoperable except for the emergency flashlight each one possessed. As they explored one noticed the other's flashlight was running low and such ascertained his might soon as well thus dooming them both so as they explored they would often do so without using either. The man who's flashlight was running low happened to have become injured in the dark and blamed the other for "setting him up" and so on their return from the darkness became immovable from the location of the cave where they had originally fallen to remain in the light of the crevice where he could keep watch on his immediate surroundings, leaving the other to explore by his lonesome. Several days passed, each mind becoming more ravenous, paranoid, and untrusting. The man with the fully charged flashlight would depart into the darkness, each journey becoming longer and - according to his accounts - more hopeful, returning with plenty of insects and moss which he would always split with his sole, now-immovable companion. His flashlight soon grew dim too, barely functional, hardly able to light up a few feet in front of him. However, the next day he, the traverser of the seemingly endless abyss that trapped them both returned, manic, unable to control himself. He informed the other he discovered a crevice about a mile or 20 minutes in from which he was able to spot a fisherman or person on the river and would signal to him with his flashlight that the man returned in response. "I need your flashlight, brother!" he exclaimed. The man who would not budge looked at his clearly manic, near-insane brother and instantly imagined another "perceived trap" or simple descent into madness. He grabbed him with what little strength he had left and threw him against a rock brandishing a sharp hunting knife he was unaware the other possessed and said "I tell you now, flee from me, or I promise you, this next trick will be your last" and cut him shallowly on his forearm, breaking his flashlight as he fell backward. His swears, promises, assurances were no good at this point. He realized that. So, he departed. That night, while the immovable man slept, the brother swiped his flashlight and swapped it with his own.

    As it turned out, the explorer's word was true. He did in fact signal a young fisherman who brought his family out to the river and was able to signal to them "SOS" using his sleeping brother's flashlight. That night the nearby town organized a search and rescue party, bringing in equipment to the awake brother's position. As the entire town on riverboats and buggies broke through the crevice freeing the flashlight signaling man, now delirious with hunger and fever, as he cried "My brother, my brother is still trapped, you have to save him!" a loud noise was heard as the cave which had confined him collapsed behind. The flashlight signaling man was rescued and taken to the local pub for a meal and hard ale. The rescue team immediately sought out for the still trapped brother, going by the location given by the now rescued man.

    Reveal
    They found him. Buried under a pile of rubble. Crushed to death. Still clutching a now-dead flashlight. Illuminated by the light of what was the original crevice he sought refuge under.

    So. What's the moral of the story? That's for you to decide.
  • javi2541997
    5.4k
    The alternative is too difficult i.e. being healthy (fitness, diet, sleep, socialising). If everyone on Earth were even slightly better, these cultural indulences would disappear, but everyone would appear robotic and liveless.Sebrof

    Good point. :up:
  • Skalidris
    118
    Humans seem to have always enjoyed altering their consciousness and augmenting their quotidian experiences through all manner of activities - sex, exercise, hiking, travelling, flying, sky diving, deep sea diving, exploring, rock climbing, art, dance, music, cinema, performance, costume, meditation, gambling, massage...Tom Storm
    The difference is, it's easy to see an advantage for all of these activities: it "makes sense" that we get pleasure from sex, or else we wouldn't reproduce, that we exercise be so healthy,... But what about alcohol? If alcohol and drugs didn't exist or triggered a negative reaction that would make us avoid it, what would we lose and what would we gain?

    They can make life a bit more interesting and fun.Tom Storm
    But that's the thing, if you didn't consider something interesting sober, why would you want to alter your state to find it valuable? Who would you trust more to access the value of things, your sober self or your drunk self?

    But alcohol is not primarily about escape or alteration of mind. In moderation it's a lubricant to convivialityVera Mont

    It's a lubricant to conviviality because we escape from social norms or fears we had when we were sober... It slows our cognitive abilities, it is an alteration of mind.
    To me, drinking alcohol in social events is like admitting we are better equipped at facing this event in our drunker self. I don't understand why we want to change what feels good and what doesn't instead of changing the situation. If I only find a social event fun and interesting when drunk, why go there instead of going somewhere that is fun when sober?

    if one is properly 'tuned up' - that is, physical fit and mentally calm - then it is likely the need for such artificial aides to well-being will correspondingly be reduced.Wayfarer
    Yes, then why do we tend to change our perception of reality rather than change our reality itself? I never understood this, if I find people uninteresting, I'm not going to get drunk to have fun with them, I'm going to find people with whom I can have fun when I'm sober...

    responsible drinkers know this is an illusion and temporary state,Outlander
    Do they really? It is so normalized to drink during social occasions. Why would you want to cause an illusionary state whenever you socialize, how does that make any sense?

    Just because you're sober or awake, as you think, doesn't mean you're any more coherent or in touch with the absolute nature of things than someone who is perhaps a bit less than sober.Outlander
    Okay, so let's imagine you have to choose between spending some fun time doing something you only like when you drink, or doing something you like when you're sober, would you consider them both as valuable in your life? Some people stare at lights when they're on LSD, would you consider staring at lights a valuable thing in your life? Some people have sex with people they don't even like or are attracted to when they're drunk, would you consider that a valuable experience in your life?
    I've heard people who had life changing experiences with drugs, where they realised something so important and got their life together after that. I've met someone like that and when he told me his revelation, I couldn't help but think "what, but that's so obvious". And the truth is, denial is the reason why most people can't admit obvious things about themselves, and alcohol and drugs, most of the time, feed denial. It's like when we dream about a solution of our problems, in the dream it seems like we're such a genius and that's an amazing discovery, but most of the time, when we wake up, we realise that solution didn't make any sense. And when it does, it's never something complex that we couldn't have thought about when we were conscious.

    l so let me tell you a story based on the truths and falsehoods of what people commonly prescribe to be a case or "unchangeable situation" of such.Outlander

    I didn't get the point of your story. Yes, in extreme situation that alter our physical state, our states of mind is also altered, so? And even if there aren't any physical damage to the health, if someone is keeping a person captive and giving them enough food and water, they'll start losing their mind too, so? I don't think "drugs are bad", without drugs, medicine would be hell for people receiving the treatments. But what I don't understand is why we normalize alcohol during social occasions, where there aren't supposed to be any suffering. And if we suffer from our life, how changing how we feel about it doesn't change anything and is only temporary, so what's the point?
  • Outlander
    2k
    Do they really? It is so normalized to drink during social occasions. Why would you want to cause an illusionary state whenever you socialize, how does that make any sense?Skalidris

    That's the point mate, for a responsible drinker being less pissed off and more jovial is not an "illusionary" state. Now it can easily and arguably inevitably lead to such. But that's a complete reversal of the word responsible.

    Okay, so let's imagine you have to choose between spending some fun time doing something you only like when you drink, or doing something you like when you're sober, would you consider them both as valuable in your life?Skalidris

    Sure. That's a far cry from your original premise to jump from having to specify a "fun time doing something [one] only enjoys when drink[ing]" but we can roll with that if you like. Naturally that's a personal choice and my random answer doesn't seem to touch on any philosophical or logical aspect but, if I may rephrase your question to what I believe is your intended or rather more widely beneficial "purpose" as: "Would I wish to enjoy something I only enjoy whilst drinking and never did before over something I previously enjoyed and no longer can (this is the main stipulation) unless sober?

    I would consider results valuable. Yes if a person has a more enjoyable time, and they place enjoyment over productivity it would indeed be more valuable in my life. Perhaps I enjoy productivity more and am (like many) unable to be as productive whilst drinking. In such a case it would absolutely be the opposite. That's my point. Everybody is different. Having half a beer versus drinking half a bottle of hard liquor counts as "drinking" just the same, arguable. So yours is a loaded question with undefined variables as is.

    I didn't get the point of your story.Skalidris

    And exactly why I told it. Different strokes for different folks.

    To circle back to the primary question, if not cheaply, why are enjoyable experiences enjoyable? Because they are.
  • Moliere
    4.3k
    I’ve always struggled to understand the appeal for mind altering substances. Whenever I tried it, it just felt like a dream where I wasn’t fully in control of my thoughts, and I never liked it. Why do humans want to escape their mind and avoid reality? How is it an advantage?
    Even when reality triggers negative feelings, it’s more efficient to be sober and think about a solution rather than choosing denial by getting drunk, so why do 99% of humans long for that state at least once in their life? Why haven’t we evolved out of this?
    Skalidris

    One thing about evolution is that it doesn't care about some sort of idealized end-goal -- insofar that the species manages to reproduce well enough that the next generation also reproduces well enough that the next iteration will do the same then the demands of evolution are met. And we see that alcohol consumption is very common among each generation so we shouldn't expect evolution to have an effect on this behavior.

    Alcohol consumption is common throughout social organisms, so I'd suggest you've got it the wrong way about -- the interesting thing is that these rituals are actually quite common, and so you've got to ask "What is this doing for the social organism?" -- or is it doing anything at all, or is it just a free-rider that happens to come along because it's not a detriment?

    One thing drinking rituals do is help stabilize social organisms in light of hierarchies that demand we act in certain ways that will become exhausting, or at least this is a function of these rituals in our culture. We work hard all day and find it hard to stop working hard when the job is finished, so a drink helps one to stop working hard for a moment. What you find unattractive, losing control of ones' thoughts, is the actual attraction.

    Also, the practical reality of regulating alcohol makes it a messy business for social hierarchies to police even if it wants to -- all you need is sugar and water, and what's in the air will take care of the rest if you want to ferment some alcohol. So there's the other side where there are people who will easily make a profit off of the desire for alcohol even if you make it illegal and try to sanitize humanity towards sobriety given how easy it is to produce at home.
  • Ciceronianus
    3k


    You'd be the life of any party.
  • jkop
    725
    Some monkeys happened to have the enzymes required for breaking down the alcohol in rotten fruit. So they had more fruit to eat than others who could not eat rotten fruit. The mind altering effect might not have been that significant in those days (millions of years ago?)
  • Tom Storm
    8.7k
    The difference is, it's easy to see an advantage for all of these activities: it "makes sense" that we get pleasure from sex, or else we wouldn't reproduce, that we exercise be so healthy,... But what about alcohol?Skalidris

    Either missing the point spectacularly or you're not serious. People play dangerous sex games, they undertake high risk activities for the adrenalin rush, the change in consciousness, to experience exhilaration, excitement, elation. 'Healthy' has nothing to do with it. Many things we do, like bungee jumping, are not for our health and serve no practical use, they are for the thrill. To savour an experience. Human beings like to do things to argument their experience. This is not hard to understand.

    Who would you trust more to access the value of things, your sober self or your drunk self?Skalidris

    This question reveals a big gap between yourself and the matter at hand. As if 'trust' or 'value' have anything to do with the use of alcohol. As someone who has had a great fondness for alcohol, I know how much better an evening can feel when using it. This is no more about trust or value than going to a museum and having a nice time looking at art. Alcohol can give everything a golden sheen, an additional energy and vivacity which you may treasure long after you are 'sober' - if you were indeed drunk, since total intoxication doesn't have to be the goal.
  • I like sushi
    4.4k
    Mind altering experiences happen without introducing foreign substances into your body. Maybe it could be argued that doing so is good preparation for the inevitable traumas life will throw at us?
  • wonderer1
    1.8k
    If someone offered you a million dollars on the condition you could never drink again...I wouldn't take the money.RogueAI

    If someone is making the offer, please send them my way. I'd take the million in a heartbeat.
  • RogueAI
    2.7k
    If someone is making the offer, please send them my way. I'd take the million in a heartbeat.wonderer1

    I guess you have to like drinking a lot. Which I do!
  • petrichor
    321
    I’ve always struggled to understand the appeal for mind altering substances.Skalidris

    I've always struggled to understand people who are not at all interested in altering their consciousness.

    As Tom Waits said, "Reality is for people who can't handle drugs." :wink:

    Drugs have long been a bit of an obsession of mine. I haven't used anything other than alcohol in moderation (and weed once in a great while in Colorado, where it's legal) for quite some time. But I did a lot of experimentation when I was young, particularly with psychedelics. I had some of the most interesting/beautiful experiences of my life, and some pretty terrible ones too! In addition to a few bad trips, I even had a psychotic episode that lasted three days following an LSD trip, during which I thought I was God and was doing all sorts of weird things. That was quite an educational experience, let me tell you! I had previously never appreciated how tenuous our grip on "reality" actually is. I would never have imagined that I could lose it like I did! Drugs, including psychedelics, are not benign. But even that psychosis was quite educational for me. I learned a lot about psychology. I also developed more empathy for people struggling with mental health issues.

    It is interesting to bend your consciousness a bit. Certain things are revealed when you do that. What doesn't vary is hard to notice. It can be hard to even realize that your baseline consciousness is always already "colored" in some sense, and might be different from that of others. When you experience a variety of states, you can compare them, at least to a degree (It is always hard to remember just what it is like to be in other states, more so with states more unlike the baseline state). It becomes possible to appreciate that your baseline state is just a small point in a vast space of possible ways of being/experiencing.

    Drugs are certainly problematic. But they have some virtues. And drugs shouldn't be treated as one monolithic class. The reasons for using them can vary quite a lot depending on the sort of drug you are talking about. People generally don't use ayahuasca for the same reasons they will drink a beer or two at dinner. Alcohol and psychedelics do vastly different things.

    Alcohol is a pretty shitty drug as far as drugs go. It doesn't really deliver on its promises, and usually makes you feel worse in the long run. Only a little is nice. Just a little too much and it tends to be pretty unpleasant, and it can be hard to stop at just the right point. And, unlike some substances, it doesn't really offer a lot of insight. Regardless, I enjoy a beer or two now and then. I tend to be pretty uptight. It loosens me up a bit and helps me to take the edge off of all the things that normally are constantly worrying me. But the nice effects of a light buzz only last a short while, and after that passes, I feel slightly worse than I did before the beer.

    It's nice sometimes to imbibe a small dose of oblivion to bring a little levity. Life can be a bit much! And not all of the problems of life can be solved, even if we face up to them soberly. Sometimes, I need a little help to just care a little less, to feel a little good for a little while despite how irreparably fucked up things actually are. I sometimes wish there were actually a much better drug than alcohol, one with all the positives and less of the negatives. But that would probably be dangerous!

    One place I've found alcohol to be extremely helpful is on a long, long international flight! Unbearable without it, especially during the pandemic, all masked up the whole time, stuck in a tight space packed with people, where you can barely move for twelve hours straight. Alcohol really, really helps me get through that claustrophobic hell!

    Some drugs aren't about escaping or feeling good at all. Some bring you right into contact with what you normally avoid and this can be quite uncomfortable.
  • kudos
    384
    Why do humans want to escape their mind and avoid reality?
    Why would a being that is characteristically good and strong do something weak and bad? Among the other animals, we have the ability to engage with the internal contradiction of strength and weakness in the 'will.' The reason why your question promotes such internal division is that it doesn't include the question, 'Is the good an act of virtue exclusive of will and the aim of an ideal life?'

    As an example, consider yourself in a class of those who admire physical strength and agility. You might think it virtuous to train every day and become the strongest imaginable. If you realized that aim, both friends and enemies would have to follow your example and you would foster a society where everyone is strong. It is now harder to survive, and life seems to incur only pain. But that pain of losing out could also be a good, and maybe didn't even realize you had that to start with.

    The true representation of the modern will is normally not thought of as something that instills the simple and universally categorical without thought. The modern will needs thought not only to define itself but in order to reach its real aims. I think Aristotle was one of the first to arrive at that conclusion.
  • Hanover
    12.4k
    I’ve always struggled to understand the appeal for mind altering substances. Whenever I tried it, it just felt like a dream where I wasn’t fully in control of my thoughts, and I never liked it. Why do humans want to escape their mind and avoid reality? How is it an advantage?Skalidris

    You can't discount genetic factors when assessing your reaction to drugs and alcohol. Some find it very pleasurable and addicting and others not. I fall into the latter category. Alcohol does lower my inhibitions, but it isn't relaxing or pleasurable. It mostly makes me tired and gives me a headache. For others, they can't seem to control their intake because it's apparently so wonderful.

    I have seen studies correlating ethnicity to alcoholism, where those ethnic groups with early historical exposure to alcohol have lower rates of alcoholism than those with more recent exposure. Native Americans have extremely high rates of alcoholism perhaps due to this recent evolutionary exposure, versus Ashkenazi Jews which have very low rates due to the first exposure being long ago.

    This isn't to say your response to intoxicants might not also be personality driven, but I have no question with myself that my physiological response is very different from what is typical.

    I suppose it's a good thing, but you won't find me at a party very late. Nothing is more boring than being the sober guy at 1:00 am.

    What actually fascinates me even more is the evolutionary role of alcohol in human mating rituals where it is introduced in highly organized ways (in terms of where it is served, to whom it is served, how it is prepared, the time of day it is served, the environment (particularly with music) in which it is served, etc.). Since alcohol is correlated to mating, it has a profound impact on evolution I would think.

    This is what I think about at 1:00 am when having to watch drunk people slobber over each other.
  • Alkis Piskas
    2.1k

    What society in particular are you referring to?
    Alcohol is used in all the societies of the world. From primitive to most civilized.

    People drink for various reasons. From simple pleasure to getting rid of persistent hurtful memories and to having mental problems (not illness, necessarily). And the amount and frequency of drinking also varies from occasionally to daily to heavy addiction (alcoholism).

    As for "denial", it is certainly not the main reason --if it is a reason at all-- for drinking. People who deny reality are usually people with mental problems (not mentally ill), frail and emotional people, who are instable, they cannot control their mind and emotions, and who can easily change from joy to anger (not manic-depressive, this is a heavy condition). And these people usually drink very little. They have other means to get rid of unpleasant and negative thoughts that pull them down: mainly by suppressing them. Avoid to accept, denying what they know well it is real, mainly by covering them with other, positive thoughts. That's why these people are characterized by lying: they are modifying and negating reality, truth. And all that, on a constant basis. It's pathological.
  • wonderer1
    1.8k
    People who deny reality are usually people with mental problems...Alkis Piskas

    Or philosophers. :razz:
bold
italic
underline
strike
code
quote
ulist
image
url
mention
reveal
youtube
tweet
Add a Comment

Welcome to The Philosophy Forum!

Get involved in philosophical discussions about knowledge, truth, language, consciousness, science, politics, religion, logic and mathematics, art, history, and lots more. No ads, no clutter, and very little agreement — just fascinating conversations.