Alcohol and society

Discussion in 'Science & Society' started by birch, Mar 13, 2017.

  1. birch Valued Senior Member

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    In the past, alcohol consumption was a regular part of the diet due to scarcity of clean drinking water that even children were fed alcoholic drinks too. Do you think that alcohol may have contributed to the genetic development of humans and the superstitions, delusions, and illogical weirdism/perversions that were rife back in the day and still today? Does it seem that many of the crazy ideas were from a drunk person or a brain damaged from alcohol in utero?

    Why do some brains crave unhealthy addictive substances which it's effect is to lessen or twist perception of reality?
     
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  3. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

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    Where? When?
    This was far from a world-wide phenomenon; nor did it obtain anywhere for more than a few hundred years - and that's over a century ago.
    No. Superstition and fermentation are both very old, but they run parallel; I can think of no culture where they bore a cause-effect relationship... unless we consider some very oppressive and punitive superstitions a motive for drinking... except that some of the most demanding religions forbid alcohol, too.
    Foetal alcohol syndrome causes children to be at a disadvantage, both physically and intellectually. Such people have enough trouble just surviving: they do not grow up to put forward revolutionary ideas or become leaders and prophets and great influencers of their culture. No: the crazy stuff is invented by the imaginative, then amplified, adapted and perpetuated by the predatory.
    There are different kinds of perception-altering substances; people don't take all of them for a single reason.
    If you want to restrict the inquiry to alcohol, the main motivation seems to be two-fold: to relax psychological and physical stress and to promote positive feelings.
    The more twisted shit is in the environment; the more anxiety and uncertainty, the more people crave escapes.
     
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  5. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    No question about that. That's why most Western cultures can metabolize alcohol (they relied on that protection) and many Asian cultures have more trouble due to ALDH2 deficiency - they more commonly used boiling water (i.e. tea) as a method of water sanitation, so that trait was not as critical for them to express.
    Not really. Being sober doesn't seem to protect one against superstition.
    The science of addiction is a deep one; there are a great many factors that predispose one to abuse alcohol or drugs.
     
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  7. birch Valued Senior Member

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    Interesting. Could it be that the alcohol contributed to the 'creativity' that western culture is infamous for partly?

    My theory is that i had to do a thesis on alcohol effects and studies showed that small amounts actually improved cognitive performance and health, but it's all about moderation. Since beer was the prevalent source, it would be a rather moderate level of alcohol. When it comes to excess, it is clearly disadvantageous in every way physically and mentally but what alcohol does is lend the ability to view things not so cut/dry or see the forest better not the just the trees, so to speak. That's the idea of 'take the edge off' emotionally and mentally. Concrete sobriety has an effect of becoming easily more mired in details or black/white which a little alcohol can alleviate. of course, a bit too much and it leads to outright delusion and/or megalomania.
     
  8. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

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    That's far too general.
    People vary greatly in their ability to metabolize alcohol, in the effect alcohol has on them, in their tolerance, in their predisposition to addiction, etc.
    You can't even generalize about beer, because its alcohol content might be 12-25% without resorting to fancy techniques and can go above 60% if you really try. Even with the weaker brews we're accustomed to, you can get quite drunk enough, just so you keep jettisoning the water.
    I like my beer and wine well enough; used to like spirits - but they've never made me creative. Horny, mellow, gregarious, indiscreet, garrulous, unwise, sick, maudlin and utterly unfit for work on a Monday morning, yes - but never creative.
    On the other hand, when I was writing fiction, I smoked constantly. After I quit smoking, the stories dried up: I couldn't focus or concentrate.
     

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