Saturday, March 16, 2019

How Drinking Works

"First you take a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes you."  —F. Scott Fitzgerald

T-shirt of the day: "One Tequila ... Two Tequila ... Three Tequila ... Floor!"

Rudolf Steiner:  "Alcohol only arose after the Atlantean epoch to help man to become individualized. It closes man off from his higher capacities and encloses him in himself. But now all civilized people have reached that stage, so that alcohol is an unnecessary evil today. Through its use one loses the ability to get along with others and to understand them. Alcohol is especially harmful for esotericists since its use changes all developed higher forces into forces of the personal ego, repeatedly locks it into itself. By consuming alcohol one prepares a fertile soil for hosts of spiritual beings, just as a dirty room gets filled with flies."


Rudolf Steiner:
Alcohol is something very peculiar in the kingdom of nature, and it turns out to be not only dead weight in the human organism but, in fact, acts directly as a counterforce on it. When we observe a plant, we find that it develops its organization up to a certain point. The grapevine is an exception in this regard. It develops beyond this point. Everything that other plants reserve solely for the seed, the vegetative power—that is, all of the vegetal germinating power usually reserved for the seed, which does not enter into the rest of the plant—in the grape, flows into the fruit as well. Thus, through what is known as fermentation, the transformation of what in the grape itself has been activated to the maximum, something is produced in the plant that has a power that (in an occult sense) can be compared only to the power of the human I over the blood. In the making of wine and and the production of alcohol, therefore, what the human being must create when the I affects the blood is created in another kingdom of nature.
We know that there is a close relationship between the I and the blood. This is expressed externally when the I experiences shame and a blush suffuses the human countenance, or when the I experiences fear or anxiety and the person turns pale. This effect of the I on the blood, which is a normal process, is similar to the effect produced when the vegetal process becomes reversed through the process of transforming the fruit of the grape—indeed, whatever arises from the very nature a plant—into alcohol. The I creates a process in the blood, as a matter of course—and here I am speaking from occult insight, not from chemistry—that is very similar to the process produced in the grape by reversing the process of organization through the purely chemical action of making alcohol. Consequently, alcohol introduces into the organism something that acts just as the I acts on the blood, but from the outside.
In other words, when we consume alcohol, we introduce an anti-I into our being, an I that directly opposes the actions of our spiritual I. We may say that, compared to how the I acts on the blood, alcohol acts on it from the opposite side. Thus, an inner war is unleashed, and when we place the antagonist inherent in alcohol in opposition to the I, we condemn to impotence everything that proceeds from the I. This is the situation from the occult viewpoint. The person who abstains from alcohol ensures the possibility that the I can work freely on the blood. An individual who drinks alcohol behaves like someone who, wishing to demolish a wall, hammers on one side, while at the same time placing on the other side people who hammer in opposition. Consuming alcohol eliminates the I's activity on the blood in exactly the same way. Those who make anthroposophy the cornerstone of their lives, therefore, experience the action of alcohol in the blood as a direct attack upon the I. It is thus very natural that true spiritual development progresses only when one avoids this conflict. From this example we see how equilibrium, normally present in the physical body, experiences a transformation in the anthroposophist and how that altered equilibrium also becomes perceptible.
Uittreksel van: Rudolf Steiner. 'The Effects of Esoteric Development'. iBooks.