January 15, 2010

"Sobriety diminishes, discriminates, and says no; drunkenness expands, unites and says yes."

So wrote William James in "The Varieties of Religious Experience" (1902), quoted in "The Harvard Psychedelic Club" (2010).

19 comments:

traditionalguy said...

Drinking wine together at social gatherings brings out an openness to listen and a lack of fear to speak. So seminars happen best that way without set speeches. The ditch on the other side of this road is a reliance on pain killer drugs (like Rush once did) that destroys the lives of these great thinkers before they have a chance to succeed at disseminating their brilliant message.

Fred4Pres said...

He has a point.

k*thy said...

The excuse every good drunk makes (these guys sound like pros).

bagoh20 said...

He's right: Drunkenness expands the bullshit and gets everyone united in it.

In other words, you had to be there.

KLDAVIS said...

"I feel sorry for people who don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day." - Sinatra

wv: thicksh - Like the skulls of most teetotalers.

vbspurs said...

I feel sorry for people who have to go through life anaesthesised.

Pastafarian said...

vbspurs, don't think of it as anaesthesia. Think of it more as lubrication.

Unless I'm falling-down sloppy drunk, it's not as though I'm any less aware of what's happening, as I would be if I were anaesthetized. A couple of glasses of port just makes me a more sociable person.

If we ever have an Althouse meet-up, I'll show you what I mean.

Lem said...

The key to the thing is moderation.

Drunks are not moderates. (i know this ;)

HKatz said...

Drunkenness doesn't say 'yes'. It says 'yessshhh'.

vbspurs said...

A couple of glasses of port just makes me a more sociable person.

Aww, Pasta. I feel like a schoolmarm now. I like the grape, over grain, and have been known to have a glass of champers on occasion.

But I don't need any amount of booze to be interesting, happy, loose or anything, and I guess that's why I don't understand why there are people who do.

(My dad is a teetotaler, my mother likes to drink, but doesn't because she's got drunks in her family -- maybe it's just the way I was raised)

Michael said...

The book from which the quote is taken is an interesting account of the convergence of Tim Leary, Baba Ram Dass (nee Alpert), Andrew Weill and Huston Smith during the early days of psychotropic drug experimentation at Harvard, MIT and points West. Ironically, Bill Wilson (the founder of AA) was one of those who experimented w/ LSD (with Tim Leary)which, in his view, produced a state very much like that he was in when he quit drinking and concocted the 12 steps. James figures in Wilson's writings as well.

The Crack Emcee said...

My favorite story from the book, which I did a post on, is how Andrew Weil sold out the others and got them kicked out of Harvard. The author said he did it like a spurned lover, because they didn't give him the best drugs. (Of course, they must have been sober at the time.) James "The Amazing" Randi also said Weil was a believer in the spoon-bending "powers" of Uri Geller. Now he's PBS's (and TIME magazine's) favorite quack doctor.

Folks, don't settle for Obama's defeat - bring 'em all down, the whole friggin' lot of 'em - make me a happy man again.

bagoh20 said...

"bring 'em all down, the whole friggin' lot of 'em - make me a happy man again."

We're workin' on it, Crack. We'll give you what you want, but you gotta promise to enjoy it. It may make the last cycle even worth it.

Freeman Hunt said...

Based on observation, drinking does a lot to make the drinker feel he's more engaging. And yet, the actual relationship between the number of drinks consumed and engaging-ness, as perceived by the onlooker, seems to be an inverse one.

Paddy O. said...

"Now he's PBS's (and TIME magazine's) favorite quack doctor."

PBS here in LA is often hardly any different than TBN. Quack's all week long.

I wrote them a letter once asking them to cut back on the religious proselytizing. They wrote me back and said they avoided religious discussion. I laughed. From their quacks to the good ol' gentle religio-silliness of Bill Moyers, it's all the time on KCET. Least after the kids programming.

Fortunately, the new digital antenna picks up the PBS stations from San Bernardino and Orange County. Lot more consistent good stuff on those stations. Much more culture and regular airing of History Detectives.

David said...

Problem is that while sobriety says no, drunkenness will say yes, at the most foolish and inopportune times.

traditionalguy said...

Drunkenness does expand and unite the lanes of travel on dark roads at midnight. But that may only be natural selection leading society to survival of the heaviest vehicle.

The Crack Emcee said...

bagoh20,

Oh, I will, man. I promise, I really will.

Aron Ranen said...

Please take a moment to watch my documentary film POWER AND CONTROL: LSD IN THE 60'S.
It features a new interview with Ram Dass about the Harvard days...

Plus, an actual participant in Tim Leary's Miracle of Good Friday Experiment....btw..when I interviewed him..he was the DEAN & President of the Divinity school where Leary recruited the original participants!

Lots more, CIA & LSD with Marty Lee, Groucho Marx's LSD trip with Paul Krassner....Free Speech Movement and ACID.

I have posted the entire film at this link on youtube..please share
http://www.youtube.com/user/Realitysurfer#p/u/1/hZdz0G4lG6k