I just started reading "Still Life With Woodpecker" by Tom Robbins (co. 1980), and on the very first page it reads:
In the last quarter of the twentieth century, at a time when Western civilization was declining too rapidly for comfort and yet too slowly to be very exciting, much of the world sat on the edge of an increasingly expensive theater seat, waiting--with various combinations of dread, hope, and ennui--for something momentous to occur.
Something momentous was bound to happen soon. The entire collective unconscious could not be wrong about that. But what would it be? And would it be apocalyptic or rejuvenating? A cure for cancer or a nuclear bang? A change in weather or a change in the sea? Earthquakes in California, killer bees in London, Arabs in the stock exchange, life in the laboratory, or a UFO on the White House lawn? Would the Mona Lisa sprout a mustache? Would the dollar fail?...
These are all good questions... & I too am home on Friday night, drinking wine, contemplating... so I'm going to give you my thoughts...
As far as we know, we are the only species on earth with the ability to, well, contemplate like this... we have intellect and comprehension, the capacity for rational, critical thought and understanding. For whatever reason we evolved this way... and there's nothing we can do about it... except maybe a sedative or two.
What I mean is, we think. & we think all the time. & not only do we think, but we put our thoughts into action. & then we do. & we do a lot. & we do a lot while we think. & think some more of more things to do.... or of how to be able to do less, & do less to accomplish more. & more, & more, & more.
& Even though we all know that stress and not enough sleep can cause us to become physically ill, we still push ourselves. & it's truly unavoidable at this point. Just about everybody in our society works. We have more single-family homes than ever. Higher education is almost a must, just to get by. Even our children are being pushed to learn more... do more. People work more hours than ever before at their jobs too. In the year 2000, the average American worked 49 and a half weeks... more than any other country's average. A lot of people are required to work more hours than ever... employers refuse to give health care benefits, paid vacation time or sick leave, or even pay living wages. So.....
How can we continue to be so ridiculously productive, live the lives we have to, and maintain our sanity? The answer is sedatives.
& as the seasons are changing, I am reminded how all of nature begins to slow down around this time. All the animals get ready to either hibernate, or chill in their dens through the winter months. The trees lose their leaves and sleep too. But we, we start to speed up. We fight against nature, and try to do more and more again. & on top of our already too-busy schedules, we torture ourselves with the holidays. & we all feel it! & Some of us can be content with a few-hour buzz one or two nights a week, to escape on our vacation we can never seem to take. But some, of the more fragile of our species, cannot deal with our overworked societal pressures, and need a daily calm.
So, why are we drawn to the sedative, you ask? Like you said... it's easy. A few glasses of wine... a couple tokes from the hash-pipe... even the daily Paxil... are just what we need to be able to slow down.
Actually this is one of my favorite topics... science vs. religion. Just to give you a background: My father is an Atheist, my mother is Agnostic, my Grandmother is Wiccan with Native American Shamanism mixed in, I was raised Unitarian Universalist, and now I am Pagan and majoring in Psychology. So if anyone can see things from all sides... ;-)
Most of this was in response to another's post. The comment that spawned this was that people utilize patterns to understand things... thus how religion/belief-systems are formed... "Your brain has a vested interest in linking everything together in an attempt to understand how it all works to increase your chances of survival... "Not assuming that you care about my opinion, I'm going to give it: ( click here to find out what it is )