By Reza Ganjavi
He had a picture of an old, white-bearded African man around his neck. Who is he? "He's my saint... he protects me... I'm Moslem from Senegal". He had a tall beer at hand. How many beers do you drink in a week? It took him some time to add up the beers. "14 tall beers.”
You know the latest research on alcohol's effects on the brain... how it shrinks the brain... and if you have to drink, 2 maximum a week? He was not too interested. He said you need to believe in God and have a good heart and do good. Yes. But you should also do good to yourself, which includes taking care of your brain.
"I have a good brain" he said. "How else do you think I ended up in Babylon, Switzerland?" Good. Even a good brain needs to be cared for... By the way, if you're a Moslem, drinking alcohol is forbidden. He said he also smokes marijuana every day. He said, "But you have a good point. I will consider it", as he crushed the empty beer can and put it in the trash.
Also, two tall beers a day makes you become dependent on alcohol. Your happiness depends on it. Then he started mumbling about how much he loves alcohol. "But you have a good point."
Most drunks I don't talk to -- with him, his necklace and his comments about being a Muslim led to the conversation about alcohol. As for marijuana, it's a medicinal plant like many others and I agree, plants shouldn't be blamed for people who abuse them.
"They already know and already beat themselves up."
Well in this case, he seemed appreciative -- what a stranger did was to echo parts of him which he's been quashing. Also, the stranger balanced out the promotions of society which helped get him to where he is anyway (which is a decadent state).
"It has nothing to do with religion which is why Rasta."
In this case he is a Moslem. I think you're saying he's also a Rasta b/c of his looks and lifestyle. But he didn't refer to Jah but recited Arabic verses in praise of God in a way Moslems do.
"You are NOT an addict if you drink two beers a day."
Sorry, I have to disagree with you on that. If you drink 2 beers a day for a week on the 8th day you feel something is missing. Definition of "addict" is debatable but alcohol is very addictive as a central nervous system depressant.
Larry, it's about raising questions... or as one philosopher put it, putting ginger in the mind,... which can be very helpful ... For example, I talk to smokers regularly...especially young ones... and it's fascinating what happens. Usually, it starts with the person saying they like smoking. After a few questions they get to see themselves, that they don't like every cigarette or every puff of every cigarette. Yes, these are diseases or as John Lennon put it, rather, curses of our civilization and I don't see anything with raising awareness.
In this example, the Big Tobacco criminal drug pushers are out to brain wash kids that smoking is good life. A little balance, in form of questioning and awareness can go a long way.
LOL Larry -- sorry buddy but that's NOT AT ALL what's happening here. It's been very helpful so far as I've been told by people who quit smoking or beat other addictions after we talk and they read the stuff I've written/recorded on the subject. I don't take credit for it because it's the work they do. I just help them help themselves. So while in a self-centered world, it seems that every action is self-centered, in this case, it's not at all. It's only humanitarian -- helping fellow humans -- to counter the promotion of ignorance by entities I consider criminal (e.g. big tobacco whose business model is to get young kids addicted).
Larry, I've learned in life that it's very hard to know exactly what is going on in another person's mind -- and it even gets harder when the contact is via the internet. You're assuming that my asking a smoker a series of questions like:
- Do you like smoking? How many do u smoke? Do you like every cig? etc.
And a conversation to raise awareness about psychological and physiological dependence and trap of time is selfish (LOL).
Well my friend, you're entitled to your opinion and thanks for sharing it. But it's wrong. What motivates me is something entirely different...
Marck, nice to see you here. Thanks for writing. I know the word ALCOHOLIC sounds too strong but technically, the CNS develops a dependence on alcohol even with 2 tall beers a day. The person can still function and the withdrawal symptom is mild. So it's a MILD case of alcohol dependence. Usually, alcohol is used on a heavier version of dependence but it's still dependence.
Marck: "Physicians have defined two drinks (wine, beer or hard liquor) as the most someone should consume in one day." -- depends on who you ask. I tend to trust Dr. Amen who's done some 100,000 brain scans and he says 2 a week is max not 2 a day because alcohol shrinks the brain.
Marck, thanks for the note. I stand behind what I said. I wrote: "Also, two beers a day make you an alcoholic. You become dependent on alcohol. Your happiness depends on it." -- So it's obvious that what I mean by being an alcoholic is being dependent on alcohol. Well in fact the way this guy talked and walked I wouldn't be surprised he was a hardcore alcoholic and I don't even know (and don't care) if he said the truth about drinking 14x tall beers a week. So I would say someone drinking 2 beers a day is not a hardcore alcoholic but his system still depends on alcohol. So that is the definition I give to the word alcoholic which is much milder than the 20-year-old girl I met the other day who drank 1 whiskey bottle a DAY. But there was still light in her eye and tears of joy came to it after we talked for an hour and she said she found renewed hope etc... wrote about it but haven't published yet.
Marck. I've seen that. And talked to a cousin (on father's side) whom you don't know (folks, Marck is my dear cousin)... who's also a psychiatrist. Yes, some on medical community don't like him because he treats people with lifestyle change instead of just drugs... and yes he's too money minded... but that doesn't reduce the fact he did all these brain scans which most haven't done and I respect his conclusion.
Marck, there are many very well-respected medical doctors who have other very well respected medical doctors disagree with them. Take Michael Greger, M.D. for example. I don't trust any doctor 100% wink emoticon.
Larry: "Stats should never be applied to individuals." Larry, the foundation of Western medicine is statistics. Stats are the most important thing the FDA looks at to determine safety and efficacy of medications for example. Yes, each body is different and I'm totally into holistic healing but stats are applied to millions of individuals all the time every day.
Larry, I agree. I like doctors who are both Western and Eastern trained. There aren't many but I know a few. When you say plants I think of herbal medicine which is a big field and goes back 1000s of years.
About the book: I looked it up - looks to be a science fiction novel that has to do with the Chinese -- looks very interesting -- but as of now I know nothing about it... if you have time please tell us the gist of it (if possible). Thanks.
Hooman, thanks for your comment. You're a professional in this field and know a lot more than I about the subject. I wonder how you'd measure consequences. It'd be fun to pick your brain on this but I know you're very busy...
Larry, for some reason the science fiction book showed up first but I see this now: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three-body_problem
As for plants not being understood, a friend's dad who's a professor at Cornell was telling me the same -- that take anything -- like Spinach -- and there's so much in it that we have no idea about. Our understanding is very limited.
About asking, I totally agree and that's where I often start... do you like smoking? It's fascinating because most responders say yes -- but a few questions later they come to realize they don't. (LOL)
June 17 at 12:40am
As for "Do you like smoking?" it is very different than "Do you like being fat?". Think about approaching a smoker and a fat person and the consequence of those two questions. The first is a reaction of a smile and opening of a friendly conversation (I've done it 100's of times). The second is probably getting smacked in the face by that fat person.
Not all action has to be from a center, from a "me".
I've never walked to a drunk and asked do you like being drunk? (LOL) That's be a waste of time to say the least!
I've talked to hundreds of smokers, especially the young ones. The approach has refined into this very effective smooth opening question.
Larry, I am not perfect, but I have won some of the battles that others are fighting and learned some things. So sharing that helps others. There are some key insights that are missing in a smokers' mind. One of the most important is, psychological time. You ignite that and it's never the same. A person gets stripped off all crutches. Then you're left with only paying attention and not deferring it to some future that will never come.
Baba, thanks for the note. "Prejudice about drugs and alcohol." You're referring to Larry but I don't know what you're talking about. What prejudice? I'm just going by what we know about the subject scientifically. The closest thing Larry came to challenging that was statistics are not reliable for individuals. Yes, but the foundation of modern medicine and all credible clinical trials are statistics. "Drugs make you lazy" -- I would not have said this because some drugs are stimulants. If you're going to quote me please be more accurate. One key problem with marijuana abuse is that it hurts motivation. But the same thing is happening now with the internet addiction!
"After I sent you a link that explained how the Beatles" -- that's funny. First I don't remember you posting that here -- maybe it was another forum -- second, SO WHAT? There are also other lists of famous people who used LSD. SO WHAT? I can bring a whole lot of examples of crimes committed by people on drugs. We're not having a discussion on whether marijuana is right or wrong. Read my original post. There was no judgment about pot. We can start a new thread on marijuana but that's not the topic here.
"Because that's what works for them."
The real good musicians I know wouldn't be able to get where they got if they were drug users. No doubt drugs can enhance creativity but they also damage the system – the same with alcohol -- and you see some of those people after some decades and I don't envy them. Does heroin work for a heroin addict? Your line of argument is, yes, because he uses it then it works (LOL).
The medical facts we have against alcohol for example can be ignored but ignorance is not bliss.
People who "get high" on drugs "damage" the nervous system or if you want to get fancier, their chakras, contain/channel that extraordinary energy which they're trying to get to through drugs.
"Alcohol has been a social lubricant."
Yes, part of the reason why alcohol is worshiped is because it helps drop inhibitions and fears. But it's superficial and TEMPORARY. You get off it, not only you live with the side effects and dependence but the inhibitions are back because they're not dealt with because alcohol is an ESCAPE. A person can be free from those naturally and save a lot of money too (LOL).
“Drunks” -- another false accusation Baba! Read my article. I'm not calling him a drunk, but, I should have because he WAS a drunk (LOL) -- it would have been a perfectly accurate label. You can put lipstick on it but it is what it is.
"Live a longer and healthier life" -- around this subject I think the quality is important. A shrunk brain due to alcohol use leads to more agitation which happens with older men anyway because brain shrinks with age anyway. And I don't call 14 tall beers a week moderate drinking. 2 max per week is the most credible science I've come across. You don't have to agree with it. I know it's hard for most drinkers and drug users to hear arguments against drugs and alcohol.
The book looks interesting Larry, and it's an interesting topic. The same with Soma... http://www.huxley.net/soma/somaquote.html
"And not the person." -- I don't understand your point Larry -- I'd have no other reason to talk to a stranger at a train station who's just standing there unless she's a gorgeous woman.
Larry, what's sad? Of course, electronic communications is very prone to misunderstandings. I understood you say, why focus on the cigarette when approaching a smoker and not talk about other things? I do talk with a lot of strangers especially in Europe where you have the chance to meet "strangers" by chance vs. in most places in the US where people are locked in their cars and closest you get to others by random is in the grocery store or mall. In Europe I talk to people on a train - friendly conversations - and they're not always smokers. But if you're talking about a cold call -- I don't just walk up to someone and start talking usually -- but it happens a lot more with smokers.
Larry, that's just your image of my image of me but it's false. Do you also make images of yourself? Is it possible to not make any psychological images?
As for the appearance remark, it's interesting that you made a conclusion that I only focus on appearance because I mentioned beauty. Do you think it's possible that outer and inner beauty are related? I find many top-notch models who are egotistic and unattractive. Beauty is holistic. Like Angelo says one note reflects your whole life. So does every move... every gesture...
The context was about talking to people randomly - or talking to "strangers" -- not in a setting like a train or bus but on a platform where it's far less contained. The rest is explained above.
As for the "drunk" (and I didn't call him that but he was indeed drunk), I surely don't claim to have saved him. Alcohol is a very tough habit to break. But I might have put a piece of ginger in his mind vs. the decadence of society which says drinking is cool.
1) Assuming seeing a person who's drunk as being a drunk as an external image. No dear Larry. There was no image-making there. He would not pass the sobriety test.
2) Indeed he could have been a talented poet. I don't know that. That was not the subject. The subject of the discussion was alcohol and its health impacts.
Larry: "Wants to help others who he sees as needing what he knows. It's his mission in life to save them from themselves." I wouldn't quite put it that way. In fact, if you're talking missions, it's one of my missions but I wouldn't say to "save anybody from themselves" (that's a compound phrase that needs elaboration. There are decadent things promoted by society as cool which actually make people suffer. If a person is aware or can swiftly become aware that they're suffering then another can help themselves. If not, time to walk away.
Larry, obsession is not the correct word at all. I never go looking for smokers to talk with. They show up. Have you ever been a cigarette addict Larry? Do you know what it feels like to buy cigs and then destroy them and then buy another pack? To be in psychological conflict? To do something you KNOW it's hurting you, making you stink, etc., etc., etc., and which you don't even like, and still do it?
About Alcohol folks, I met a friend's father today by chance who is a psychiatrist. He said Dr. Amen is right (2 max drinks a week if you have to drink). He said many of his patients try alcohol first for getting rid of their problems and it helps to a certain extent - helps you sleep, soothes the pain, etc. - but problem is after the first glass it's downhill.
Kumar, doesn't have to be per se but it's very related in this case. K spent a lot of time talking about freedom from dependence, chemically, intellectually, emotionally, etc.
Larry, I don't run across heroin or coke etc. addicts often. I come across cigarette addicts regularly, so they're the ones I talk to most often. The whole subject of maybe this smoker is a poet etc., etc., is not the subject here. The subject is addiction. Of course, a wonderful and very talented person can also be addicted.
Baba, sorry you're off on this one too: "You did specify that it was pot that made people lazy. I suppose you feel this way because of outdated drug war propaganda, rather than actual experience," --- I'm not following any up-to-date or outdated propaganda. Pot hurts motivation. It's been shown scientifically. This is just 2 years old: "Researchers have found that levels of dopamine are lower in long-term cannabis smokers and those who began using the drug at a younger age. Lower dopamine in a part of the brain called the striatum is linked to less ambition and motivation at a neuronal level."
Baba, any speculation around chakras is metaphysical -- but the sources that I respect don't agree with you on "to OPEN chakras, rather than damage them". According to them, narcotics reverse the flow of energy in chakras and damage them -- but this is not something I can argue for, but based on experience, I do strongly believe it is related to the astral realm and I have absolutely no interest in that. A simple test is suffering.
Sorry Baba, you're wrong again. The US Government considers pot as an addictive and otherwise harmful narcotic and DEA has it scheduled as "1". I know there are arguments that it's not a narcotic but it's classified as such and I go along with that. Nicotine is also a narcotic. They both affect chakras and damage them. Cigarettes put thousands of poisons in blood and if you want to get esoteric, in air Veda they say it makes a person susceptible to negative psychic influences... But these are secondary. There are some concrete negative effects that make the users suffer.
Baba, I asked you once already not to misquote me -- you did it again. I don't appreciate putting words in my mouth.
Larry, I should start a subscription service and get paid for my time to write what people like to read (LOL). But until then I wrote what I want to write. The little piece I wrote was about his drinking problem. You say you're not interested in that but you posted many, many messages on this thread so obviously there was some interest in the topic and it was quite revealing how it moved -- first you tried to shove it down my throat that talking to smokers is my way of self-glorification (LOL) God Forbid. And so on... and all the image-making.... but that's fine... A difference between Europe and the US is that I run into people like this all the time whilst in most places in the US even running into any human by chance is a miracle (LOL) -- (being in the car doesn't count). And there are so many people with so many interesting stories. It's a question of prioritization. It's not my mission in life to be journalist on what people want to read. I write what intrigues me.
Larry, "Quoting experts without reading the experts I've quoted." -- I don't recall reading anything you quoted since yesterday. What are you talking about bro?
Larry, that's another image you're making. If you read my article again you might pick up the dynamics of the exchange. The guy was totally drunk, yet as he was leaving he expressed gratitude -- more than once... he even said I was right. That's VERY different situation than you just making some assumptions about my motives, which even after I explained it wasn't so, you kept insisting. But no hard feelings. I "know" you and we go way back and I like your spirit, so we move on -- in fact, someone wrote to me offline, that Larry guy... I said hey, we go back to the guitar group and OCGC and he's a great guitarist and a good friend... Anyway, again, you keep repeating "obsession" -- you seem to be obsessed with obsession LOL. You're totally entitled to your opinion but while I have an interest in this subject I don't consider it obsessive. I don't look for smokers to talk to. Big Tobacco criminals have done a perfect job of putting them all over the place.
Baba, as far as I remember FDA doesn't consider pot as having any medical benefits. I think it does but even people I know who supposedly get it medically, are abusing it.
Larry, I do not doubt the medical benefits of pot but I'm sure many of those people buying it off the pot dispensers on Venice Beach etc., etc., are not needing it. You can just go tell the doc there your back hurts and you get it prescribed. It's a joke. But that doesn't mean there are no valid reasons for it.
I see you just made another image "you seem to think", in other words, "my image of your image of yourself"... well my friend, it's not so. I do in fact know a lot about drugs and but by no means everything and even those who know everything about anything don't know more than what they know!
I'm not feeding any corporate line -- what corporate line? I haven't quoted any corporates in this thread.
Again you're putting words in my mouth. I didn't call anybody a slacker or a drunk but fact is the ONE person I talked about was drunk. And I wasn't talking about any groups. You're putting words in my mouth again. And this guy was no Rasta or Jah worshipper, as I explained already. Not everybody from Africa is Rasta... The important thing here in this exchange is perhaps to see how many images and conclusions and abstractions are made. They exhibit the habits of thought.
Baba, the link you provided is irrelevant. Because nobody I know of including myself has doubted medical benefits of pot in this thread. Are you a pot user? You sound like it.
Larry, you didn't answer if you smoked cigs (or did I miss your answer?). If you had you'd have more sympathy for those who are pinned to wall by the addiction. Nicotine is as bad if not worse than heroin in "addictivity".
Baba, so you smoke pot regularly. Do you have a medical condition? The best musicians I know don't have to smoke pot (LOL) and on the contrary if they were pot smokers they wouldn't be able to play at that level accuracy. I absolutely don't need pot to enjoy good music.
Larry, what was your reference to Rasta that you think I misunderstood? Are you talking of Jamaican Rasta or Ethiopian? I repeat, not everybody from Africa belongs to Rasta. You were talking about the guy I met and just assumed he was. He wasn't.
Larry, it's not that I think drugs are defined by governments. I referred to the DEA specifically. And it's a fact that they schedule drugs and sometimes it takes them a whole year to go along with FDA recommendation.
Jah provides the bread https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CHekNnySAfM
Bill, that's a funny post. So the study I cited is no good, the FDA is no good, the DEA is no good, since in the future they MIGHT find something we need to throw away what we know today. Weed, alcohol, tobacco, are all abused and the consequences of it is SUFFERING. Mark Chapman was high on pot when he killed Lennon. BabaTips here who smokes pot regularly repeatedly misquoted me. Every long-term pot smoker I've known has been damaged. Every cigarette smoker suffers at least at a physical level. Alcohol is highly addictive and is regularly abused as an escape yet decadent society worships it. I don't want to imagine a world where everyone is a pothead. I'm not fond of any pothead I know and trust me I've known MANY.
Maryam: "Guys please remember that the Tobacco itself is not addictive but."
Not true dear Maryam. Nicotine is very addictive and tobacco contains Nicotine. I found this out on my own and then read a doctor saying the same thing that nicotine is both a depressant and stimulant so works as a double edged sword against both those categories of drugs, which makes it extra vicious.
Hooman, I forgot, do you have a Ph.D. as well as an MD don't you? What else? wink emoticon
Bill, actually I don't think that's a medical fact. I've read a study (recent) that showed bring drinking has long-term effects but one beer surely is not going to cause permanent damage.
Bill, I know more than you think about Cannabinoid receptors. I'm invested in a leading GPCR researcher that just competed ascending dose safety study on a Cannabinoid receptor agonist and was very successful.
Bill, I don't need to wait till 2025. I've known enough potheads to know all about the damages of long-term use of pot as a recreational drug.
Also, I don't need to wait till 2025. I've known enough potheads to know all about damages of long term use of pot as a recreational drug.
Very true, Larry and the main reason for our problems is we've gotten too far from nature, and treat it as dumb matter that's there for us to exploit.
Pot did not save the world like it was supposed to in the 60s. Hippyism is dead. The hope is in health, and caring for nature.
That's cool Larry. Glad you're alive and kickin. Actually, I see a revival of hippyism but in form of no drug + healthy food, e.g. veganism... much better... but still the free spirit ideas...
I wonder if "Rock Is Dead" to quote The Who too... electronic music (if you can call it music) seems to be the new rock. I went to a party last weekend and it was mainstream yet mostly electro dance and I couldn't detect much melody in any song and all had the same structure of a boring part and then sudden hype where we all jumped up and down. (LOL)
In some countries alcohol is unfortunately worshiped. I met some youngsters yesterday. One drank 2 days a week until she puked. Another drank 7 days a week for a while. She described it as "about 6 cocktails, then like 6 shots, and then washed down the shots with champagne". Permanent brain damage can be caused by such abuse. http://wunc.org/.../study-teenage-binge-drinking-has ...
Reconfirms my impression of why Edinburgh had such a strange feel: Over a third of Scots admit to binge drinking. “SCOTLAND has the highest proportion of binge drinkers in the UK, but also a relatively high number of teetotallers, official figures show.”
Too bad because binge drinking among youngsters has been shown to cause permanent brain damage.