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What is the allure of getting drunk?


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#1 L-C

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 12:19 PM

This is something that has puzzled me for quite a while. Where I live it seems like enjoying drunkenness is as expected of young people as liking pizza or chocolate. For many it's the highlight of their lives, the reward for their patience of putting up with work, school, or other "duties" that require a sharp mind. And I'm not referring to intellectual dinner parties rounded off with a bit of wine toward the end.

I can't relate to it one bit. I'm 25 and have never been drunk or had a hangover; can't see that ever happening. At most I've been a bit tipsy and that's been enough to make me stay away from alcohol. I don't like the feeling, it feels wrong. When I posted about that on another forum, they were all just as baffled about that as I am about their preferences. Most of them could accept someone not wanting to get drunk, but not enjoying the tipsiness seemed inconceivable to the whole bunch. For them it's just something you do.

I posted about this on the Capitalist Paradise forum quite some time ago: http://z7.invisionfr...?showtopic=1393

I know some people who don't usually drink a lot but still get drunk occasionally, such as during New Year's Eve. So they're not constant weekend escapists, but still they want that state of mind in their lives sometimes. Myself, I don't see a reason to ever get drunk, no matter the occasion.

#2 Carlos

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 01:38 PM

Alcoholic drinks taste great, and alcohol in the right situation in moderation can lighten moods and relax people in social atmospheres. There's nothing wrong with this, just as there's nothing wrong with having a coffee in the afternoon when you are drowsy but need full focus to finish something at work.

I think a lot of it is American culture. Young Americans drink to get drunk rather than drinking for enjoying much much more than in the places I've visited in Europe (and my wife is European and shares this same sentiment). I think it is because our culture has a puritanical attitude towards alcohol, where we keep young people away from it and treat it like this mystical forbidden contraband. This creates a totally non-casual attitude towards alcohol, an attitude that is very different from other parts of the world.

As an example of this, I remember being at a science conference in America recently, and over drinks was talking to some young scientists from Europe. They were completely baffled that it would not be socially acceptable in a big city to buy a beer and drink it in the city park.

#3 L-C

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 04:31 PM

Europe isn't (yet) that homogenous. Weekend binging is the norm in Sweden, though our DUI limit is 0.2% and the government has a legal monopoly on selling anything over 3.5% ABV that isn't consumed in a restaurant or bar.

The only alcoholic drink I thought tasted good was Grand Marnier. But I really don't like the "warmth" and buzz from alcohol so I just avoid it altogether. Coffee as a cognitive tool is different since you can't otherwise force yourself to not be physically tired if you are. But I like to think that my mood and state of relaxation are what they should be, and if they aren't, the reasons are something I should investigate and fix. When I was tipsy due to alcohol I felt "fake" since the sensation had nothing to do with who I am and what I do, it was just chemically induced.

But this is all related to the lesser concern of social relaxation and "mood lightening", as you say. When it comes to intoxication I just never conceived of altering my mind like that, or why I would want or need to.

#4 L-C

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 04:35 PM

Also I should say that I never felt the need alter the way I function in that sense. If I like the people I'm around, and the setting/circumstances, the only problems I may have are related to social training which is something to be overcome with practice, not masked with drugs. Other than that there's nothing I feel that I lack, that would be better with alcohol. I can talk and joke and laugh when that's called for, or share intimate feelings in detail if I respect, value, and feel trusted by the other person.

#5 JohnRgt

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 06:07 PM


Fear is the passion of slaves. -- Patrick Henry

#6 Carlos

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 08:11 PM

But I like to think that my mood and state of relaxation are what they should be, and if they aren't, the reasons are something I should investigate and fix.

If you have a problem, yes you should carefully introspect to identify it rather than bury the problem under alcohol or some other distraction. But that doesn't mean that using a chemical to aid in relaxation is always bad... You aren't just a mind floating in vacuum, but a body and mind integrated as one. When I'm really tired after working all day but I need to read a manuscript for work that night, I find sipping a small glass of liquor while I read to be very soothing and relaxing.

When I was tipsy due to alcohol I felt "fake" since the sensation had nothing to do with who I am and what I do, it was just chemically induced.

Many people enjoy alcohol in social situations without feeling fake. Just because there is a large valueless party culture that is borderline addicted to alcohol does not invalidate rational enjoyment of alcohol in moderation in a social setting.

But this is all related to the lesser concern of social relaxation and "mood lightening", as you say. When it comes to intoxication I just never conceived of altering my mind like that, or why I would want or need to.

Your body and mind are connected, and the state of your mind and what it's feeling can change based on the experiences of your body. A person can feel profound relaxation after having sex, and a person can also feel relaxed after jogging, or after reading, or after having a beer. What's wrong with this? It's just a part of experiencing and enjoying reality. Enjoyment of values in reality does not equivocate to some dark need for those values, as Buddhists would have you believe...

#7 Carlos

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 08:12 PM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C-a64OwOYqU

Undateable!!!

#8 Carlos

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 08:13 PM

Europe isn't (yet) that homogenous. Weekend binging is the norm in Sweden, though our DUI limit is 0.2% and the government has a legal monopoly on selling anything over 3.5% ABV that isn't consumed in a restaurant or bar.

Yes, I was generalizing a bit too excessively.

#9 Carlos

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 08:41 PM

To look at this from another angle, enjoyment of alcohol literally predates civilization. It's probably one of the most persistent and timeless facets of human culture. Thousands of people have been enjoying it for thousands of years. While large numbers of people enjoying something doesn't automatically validate it, I think that should be enough to make you pause and wonder why.

#10 realitycheck44

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 08:48 PM

^^ Same argument could be made for believing in a god.
"The Priest hated him, for the Viking looked at heaven only when he bent for a drink over a mountain brook, and there, overshadowing the sky, he saw his own picture.
...
A Viking lived, who had laughed at Kings, who had laughed at Priests, who had laughed at Men, who had held, sacred and inviolable, high over all temples, over all to which men knew how to kneel, his one banner - the sanctity of life." -Ayn Rand

#11 JohnRgt

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 09:02 PM

^^ Same argument could be made for believing in a god.


True. What I take from how long religious practices have been with us is that Man needs philosophy, ie, answers to crucial questions.
Fear is the passion of slaves. -- Patrick Henry

#12 realitycheck44

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 09:15 PM

True. What I take from how long religious practices have been with us is that Man needs philosophy, ie, answers to crucial questions.

Maybe that's what can be taken away from Man's relationship with alcohol as well... :P

Partly just playing devils advocate here. I'll post more thoughts on the subject later.
"The Priest hated him, for the Viking looked at heaven only when he bent for a drink over a mountain brook, and there, overshadowing the sky, he saw his own picture.
...
A Viking lived, who had laughed at Kings, who had laughed at Priests, who had laughed at Men, who had held, sacred and inviolable, high over all temples, over all to which men knew how to kneel, his one banner - the sanctity of life." -Ayn Rand

#13 Carlos

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 09:15 PM


^^ Same argument could be made for believing in a god.


True. What I take from how long religious practices have been with us is that Man needs philosophy, ie, answers to crucial questions.

Exactly and good point.

#14 L-C

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 09:45 PM

While large numbers of people enjoying something doesn't automatically validate it, I think that should be enough to make you pause and wonder why.


I did and came up empty, save escape from reason. If I have an inhibition, intended to be there. And if there's an inhibition that shouldn't be there...it isn't. I can't think of anything I want to change about myself (that isn't related to practicing social skills) in the kind of social situations that I actually want to take part of.

#15 JohnRgt

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 02:44 AM


True. What I take from how long religious practices have been with us is that Man needs philosophy, ie, answers to crucial questions.

Maybe that's what can be taken away from Man's relationship with alcohol as well... :P


LoL!

Partly just playing devils advocate here. I'll post more thoughts on the subject later.


Make sure you have a few first . . .
Fear is the passion of slaves. -- Patrick Henry

#16 Paul's Here

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 03:26 AM

I find that alcohol deadens my tastebuds. After one beer or one glass of wine, it just doesn't taste good anymore.
ANTHEM
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and the sight of my eyes grants beauty to the earth.


It is my ears which hear,
and the hearing of my ears gives its song to the world.


It is my mind which thinks,
and the judgment of my mind is the only searchlight that can find the truth."


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#17 Betsy Speicher

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 05:17 AM

Some of it has to do with personal physiology, especially how one processes simple carbohydrates. I feel nervous and wired immediately and then crash and feel depressed within 5 minutes of eating sugar. I also react to alcohol like L-C and get uncomfortably tipsy very easily. That's why I rarely drink alcohol and have been avoiding sugary desserts since I was a child. Most people don't have nearly the extreme reaction that I do.
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#18 Arnold

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 07:37 AM

Certainly one's genetic makeup plays a part. The natives of North America and Australia don't handle alcohol very well. Some laps into addiction rapidly. There are two main reasons we drink. One is with the intent to get blotto, and the other is to be sociable. A third reason is just the enjoyment of the drink, and the alcohol is incidental to the drink itself. While I enjoy my wines and beers, I simply cannot enjoy them if I drink enough to become drunk (say a bit more than .1 alcohol-blood level). I feel sleepy and end up with a headache. If I pushed myself, I would just throw up. Occasionally I have overdone it because I have encountered a stunning wine and enjoy it's flavour so much. I pay for that soon after.

#19 L-C

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 09:33 AM

There are two main reasons we drink. One is with the intent to get blotto, and the other is to be sociable.


What is the motivation behind the first?

And why would one need alcohol to do the second?

#20 Carlos

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 02:31 PM

And why would one need alcohol to do the second?

Coffee isn't required for coding fortran, but it sure as hell is a boost! That's my indirect answer.




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