Narcotism, Alcoholism and Cultism

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There was a text message from an anonymous reader wanting to know my opinion on the above issues and to write about them. Narcotism, alcoholism and cultism, all these three phenomena have one common tendency, namely to deaden pain and the sense of reality by drifting into a world of illusion, voluntarily induced through substances or ritual practices. There is an altered state of consciousness.
The search for an experience or state of consciousness different from the normal, ordinary or natural is in reality an inquisitiveness responsible for exploring various ways to find meaning in a meaningless state of being. In the words of Wole Soyinka, “any revolt against the status quo is essentially a revolt of the spirit, one that expresses itself either in the political arena or in the artistic.”
Bias-free studies in the culture of narcotism indicate that humanity had derailed and taken a wrong course in the process of development. Those who inwardly feel the pain of this anomaly or guilt go to the extent of drifting towards nihilism or self-destruction. The dividing line between genius and psychosis is so thin that a cross-over is easy and possible. Narcotics can do the cross-over.
The world had seen the likes of Adolf Hitler and Rev. Jim Jones of the Guyana tragedy, whose dreams of change took the forms of mad utopia. The desire to change the world can take the forms of militancy, nihilism or narcotism. Boko Haram ideology is one variation. In the arena of politics there are such great dreamers and reformers who set out to change the society but end up plunging their nations into greater miseries and confusions. There’s more about life than forced changes.
It is in the religious circle that idealistic dreamers and reformers abound most, with some of them drifting into psychosis, without their followers recognizing the anomaly. The problem with bigots and over-zealous reformers is that they fight without knowing the real enemy that has beguiled humanity for so long. Less than one percent of humanity knows the mechanism of human derailment. Those who seek to fight the scourge blunt the sword they use, without striking the vital target.
For those who earnestly long for a clue into the genesis of human derailment, here is a hint: “In reality there is only one enemy of mankind all along the line: The hitherto unrestricted rule of the intellect! That was the great fall of man, his most grievous guilt, which brought all evil in its wake,” The reader is also urged to explore current research efforts in the mechanism and dynamics of the human brain, particularly, the Brain-Dominance Theory. Quite a fascinating engagement!
In our desire and haste to grapple with the issues and perplexities of life, humans embarked upon the use of short-cuts, following broad, easy roads of least resistance, and avoiding discipline and thoroughness. Thus, the intellectual or objective section of the brain grew and developed to become domineering and tyrannical in its operations. Without higher guidance, derailment came!
All would have been well if lie began and ended with what objective intellect would be able to deal with; thus a servant became a tyrannical leader. But life goes far beyond what sensory perception can grapple with. It is the inability to cross over and benefit from a higher source of guidance which has brought all humanity to the confused state we have currently. The result is the resort to narcotization of consciousness.
Truly, we are mocked with art, not in Winter’s Tale but in life! In our search for meaning and reality humanity tends to over-look real sources of guidance, but scramble for illusory pleasures through narcotics. One Ibsen Henrik (1828 – 1906) a Norwegian dramatist and poet, gave us some ideas about the true obstacles to human advancement, in his book: An Enemy of the People, published in 1882. Inferior minds would come across great works of art and throw them aside without grasping the vital message. Thus are we mocked with art.
True enemy of humanity is rarely the one with frightful horns and claws, but a vital tool within us which had been put to a wrong use. If we are told that “brain-cripples have been ruling the earth for thousands of years,” that would be like making a hate speech. The crippling of the brain by man through his inability to harness and manage that vital tool meant to help in piloting his affairs on earth, is the derailment, for which narcotism provides fake relief from pain.
For the anonymous reader that sent me a text message, please take this write-up as a hint towards understanding the role of narcotism, alcoholism and cultism in a wrong search for meaning in a distorted social and global system. The way back to reality is open to everyone.
Dr. Amirize is a retired lecture at the Rivers State University, Port Harcourt.