“My wife is a drunk Kenneth”….REALLY???

sbux

~ I was sitting at coffee recently, and a coffee house acquaintance of mine sat down at my table with a huge “sigh”,

What’s wrong dude?” I asked?

My wife was fired from her job last week because she got drunk with her boss and coworkers at a party, and tried to punch her manager” he said

“What!?” I exclaimed

“Yea, she’s been a drunk for awhile now. It’s wreaking havoc on our 12 year old daughter, and now we’ve lost my wife’s income” he said

It is sad how alcoholism has ravaged the lives of so many men and women for such a long time. Have you ever wondered how alcoholism became such a big problem in the United States?

Following the Civil War in the late 1800’s, an existential crisis swept across the United States; the Civil War was long and bloody, and the awful war led millions of Americans to questioning whether or not the experiment in democracy was a failure or not. Suddenly, after 100 years of the United States of America…..men and women were questioning whether or not their existence in America had any true or greater meaning.

As millions of Americans began experiencing bouts of depression, and anxiety riddled their lives, William James penned what would be a landmark book, “Principles of Psychology” and his thesis led to the creation of the American Psychological Association.

In turn of the century America, people all across the country were turning to alcohol (as well as other substances) as a way to cope with their depression and anxiety. While on the psychological front, doctors like William James attempted to treat the depression, anxiety, and sense of hopelessness that people were feeling through “talk therapy”…….another thing was happening in the United States that had never occurred before; the advent of the social cause movement.

By the early 1900’s there were so many social cause movements it was like the country had transformed itself into a new identity; prohibition, universal suffrage, women’s rights, the list grew every year.

If you look around the United States in our day and age; social cause movements are literally everywhere; the gay pride movement, the religious right, Jews for Jesus, the Animal Rights movement, Black Lives Matter, Tea Party movement, Feminist movement, Labor movement……the list is literally endless.

You see, at the root of the depression and anxiety that Americans are still experiencing more than a 100 years after the Civil War ended, is a feeling of despondency. Men, women, young adults…..they wake up in the morning, go to school or work, come home, and repeat the monotony of their day over and over and over.

Millions of men, women, and young adults lack purpose and meaning to their lives.

Social movements have been a poor manner in which Americans have tried to find a greater purpose to their lives.

Let me preface that last sentence; it is not that I’m saying social movements are bad (though some of them are VERY bad) but the problem is that finding a greater meaning to your life through a social movement is in the end, a failing endeavor.

Prohibition, Alcohol Anonymous (AA), talk therapy; putting aside what we think about those three movements that have attempted to address the problem of chemical substance addiction, what we have learned is that people who make those movements the very purpose of their lives; end up feeling just as lost and hopeless as people who don’t believe in them.

While Prohibition, AA, and talk therapy may have helped millions of people, my point is that our lives have to be more meaningful than a movement. Our lives need a greater purpose then merely fighting a social cause……because if you are fighting a cause, you must be at war with someone.

Isn’t peace what we should be striving for?

Peace in our hearts.

Peace in our souls.

Peace among humanity?

Social causes tend to create a sense of militancy within the hearts and minds of the activists involved. And if you don’t believe me, try sitting down with someone on the political Right or Left and disagree with them; they will rarely talk with you in a peaceful manner.

Look at comments on my blog from people who disagree with me; over the course of three years I have received more than 50,000 comments, and let me tell you, while some people who disagree with me write in a spirit of peace, the vast majority demonstrate very little humility in their opposition.

Despite the good things that we can list about social causes; there is an ugly truth to them;

—) Social causes have warped our sense of meaning, community, and purpose.

—) Social causes have led people to greater levels of fighting; both physically and verbally.

—) Social causes have blinded us to more meaningful discussing and dialogue

Of course, what do I know, I’m just some bloke who drinks coffee and wrote a book you should get a copy of pronto!!!!!

Kenneth

(P.S. Before I get a slew of emails from people who want to tell me that alcoholism was not caused by the Civil War; that was not the point of the post. Research studies have shown that in the post Civil War era, mania, alcoholism, anxiety, and depression spiked up in a MASSIVE direction…and the numbers have never really gone back down anywhere close to pre-Civil War levels).



Categories: Culture & Society

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14 replies

  1. Interesting look at social causes. Thanks for posting.

  2. “In diving to the bottom of pleasure we bring up more gravel than pearls”
    Social causes seem to be endless, where solutions become limited. Why don’t we take advantage of good things life offers, use and carry those gifts rather than aim the indecencies human invented.
    I need a drink, may even get drunk today.. 😆🍸🍀
    Happy Patrick’s day!! 🍀

  3. You always write about interesting topics and I enjoy reading them. I like your approach on this one. It’s really about humanity’s perpetual search for meaning, peacefully.

  4. Oh my this is terribly interesting and is yes i know you didn’t mean to convey that the Civil War caused alcoholism.
    But what is your implicit point, that we should stop fighting for social causes?I hope that’s not what you are saying and i do say that with the utmost peace in my heart.
    Surely you can’t mean to say that social causes are the enemy because that’s the only way anything can change, other than that i think that is probably the worst prognosis yet because social causes are here to stay they’re not going anywhere, one step forward two steps back that’s the name of the game.
    Maybe you haven’t been the victim of such causes that’s why you’re so ready to toss them aside?(Not an inference just a question)
    Great post though, i loved it….nice and provocative just like i like it.

    • Imposterpawn, the substance of the social cause is not necessarily the enemy (although some causes are inherently evil like the KKK) but too often the people in the social movement turn the cause into a war against anyone who doesn’t line up with their ideology

    • okay that is true, but if the cause is just unlike the KKK why shouldn’t people line up with the ideology?

    • Good question, tough to answer in such a brief space.

      There is a lot of social science evidence that social causes lead to militancy…..obviously, one of the problems in our society is overly militarized ways of thinking; people are literally at war with their next door neighbors.

      Rather than create a social cause to combat problems, isn’t it better to simply address the problems through conversation and action?

      Hospitals were created by Christians in the medieval era, and they weren’t created through a “hospital movement”, but rather, men and women realized that sick people needed to be tended to and they responded to the problem.

      One of the main problems with social causes is that because they become militant, the war never ends. Take racism; the war against racism will never end, even if racism ceases to exist, because the people who are part of the social cause have been militarized in their thinking and they will always be fighting a war till the end of time, regardless of whether or not racism exists.

      Climate change is another good example. People who are part of the climate change social movement are militant in their thinking and action. Shouldn’t we as humans simply want to live in clean environment, whether or not climate change is as serious a problem as the people in the movement believe it to be?

      In other words, I don’t need to hear militant angry people like Al Gore talk to me about climate change…because I simply believe it is a good thing for humans to live clean lives.

      Chemical Pollution is something we should stop; not because of the climate change movement, but rather because good decent human beings should want a clean environment.

    • Aptly put, but why are you so quick to assume that the militant nature of most social movements is the default?
      We have tried to do things peacefully but that didn’t work.
      I agree that surely we should just ‘talk it out’ but its not always that simple, find out the history of some of these movements they probably started off peaceful.
      Reasoning and action as per the ‘summum bonum’ isn’t always something we all agree on, ignorance and stupidity are very real and at any one point these two forces are usually in the majority hence the militant approach by the enlightened few.
      Rhetoric though beautiful, doesn’t always get the job done.

  5. Perhaps your meaning can be viewed in analogy: AA as a social ‘personal help’ therapudical movement is a dilution of the AA massage. Its funny becusse yeah, so many people make recovery ‘their mission’ and ‘self help meetings’ a kind of purpose. But that is not the message of the AA book. The message is that you can get in touch with a power that will solve all your problems, and if you live life by certain principles then your life will be fullfilling no matter what happens –oh yeah, without alcohol.

    The problem perpetautes itself by watering down the potential until it becomes just another temproary and contigent fix that requires more closing of vision, rather than an opening, if one wants to maintain ‘the fix’.

    Thanks. You always got cool topics and thoughts.

    • “Its funny becusse yeah, so many people make recovery ‘their mission’ and ‘self help meetings’ a kind of purpose. But that is not the message of the AA book”

      Well said, and very similar to what I was getting at; people in the U.S. tend to turn so many different things into militaristic causes.

  6. Alcoholism is a sad trend… behaviour

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