Drinking too much is as stupid as not to drink your wine or beer at all. What ‘no drinking’ leads to are casual excesses of the worst kind. I learnt that only recently, at the age of 61.
The wisdom in life is to drink moderately. As my grandmother used to say, ‘alles mit Maß und Ziel’ which means something like ‘everything with its measure and goal.’ She loved her glass of Rheinland white wine at festivities and with the meals, and I knew, once she resigned from it, she would die soon.
That was a correct prediction. With my mother the same. She liked her five small bottles of beer in the evening and once she resigned from them, she died soon. Of course, both had followed the stupid advice of their doctors who were ultimately their grave diggers. Doctors are the most effective killers in our society, and they kill antiseptically and legally. But they kill nonetheless, and that’s why I avoid them like you avoid white ghosts.
Moderate drinking serves a purpose in our society. Perhaps not in tribal cultures where there are not those terrible inhibitions that are the price we pay for so-called ‘civilization’ and which are based on parental abuse in childhood that is justified as ‘strict education.’ These inhibitions are real, they are emotional barriers and stand in the way to social communication and exchange.
That’s why we all need our glass of champaign or whiskey as an icebreaker at social gatherings, and this is so in Europe as it is in USA or Australia. It’s a common code, a ‘socializing’ code of behavior.
Get away from that, and you will see how relationships will break down. I see it even with some of my coaching clients during our webcam sessions. They do need their glass of wine in order to properly relax and open up to a true conversation. And I truly mean this in the sense they are not going to get drunk, but remain in the social framework of emotionally charged communication—which is the only communication that is whole and complete.
Compare that to what you call business communication and you will get a felt sense about what I mean to convey. Business communication is not real, it is in most cases a two-sided monologue where each party wants to reach a material goal, and where emotions are as much as possible repressed and relegated to the unconscious. It is a fragmented communication and it serves a purpose.
While all real things in life serve no purpose. Simply being happy with a child who engages in art work, for example. There is no purpose. You have no purpose for watching that child doing art work and that child has no purpose doing art work. So you both are free, you both are uninhibited and open-hearted.
Purpose, so highly regarded in our society and our religion, is the greatest perverting force in education you can ever think of. It makes robots out of free children, it renders people to become driven by egotistic motives all day long. It is so easy for you can justify all your greed with affirming, ‘it’s for a good purpose.’
Drinking socially has no purpose either. It is a natural activity, as sleeping is a natural activity, or going to the toilet. When it is repressed, such as for example in Islam, you see people gathering who are not relaxed, where one lectures the other, where one dominates the other, where one feels superior over the other, according to a fixated social code that is ultimately graved in stone. I have experienced it thoroughly during my several years spent in Jakarta, Indonesia.
And thus, insofar, I find our Christian social code more relaxed. It starts in the Catholic Mass where you get to drink a bit of wine when you eat your holy bread, and it ends in the burial festivities where people tend to get drunk to forget their mourning pain and open up to the natural cycles of life that say: ‘One comes and one goes.’ Thus social drinking has a good place in society, and we should adopt the attitude of the Greeks and Romans, and also the Chinese sages, who regard ebriety rather highly for an educated person.
Behold, yes, for an educated person, not for a street peddler who, drunk, molests people and children! There is a world of difference between the two. And yet, in my region, during the French occupation in our border region in Germany, between 1945 and 1957, children were often to be found with street peddlers who were drunk and even offered a glass of wine to the child. I know it personally and it was not any kind of molestation. They were nicer than our teachers who were pedantic and stupid, and resorted to beating us at any moment of the day.
I have experienced all the facets of drinking, also the excesses, and my father was a routine drinker of the worst kind. I have a photo of me as a baby, when he holds me proudly. I must have been 1-year old, as my parents divorced at that time precisely, and I am holding a beer bottle in my hand. My father used to say:
—Your mother gave you mother milk. I am giving you father milk.
And yet, my father was not abusive. He was a good man and I hold him in good memory. He was not able to drink moderately and socially but that was a psychological problem that I could quickly identify because of his terrible relation with his mother who was the proverbial German Putzteufel.
She was obsessive about cleanliness and everybody had to take off their shoes when entering the flat. She was always crisp, never relaxed, and she was obsessed about making a girl out of my father, dressing him in girl clothes until his age of 7. He was ridiculed and beaten up in school on a daily basis. She died at 92 without ever having read a book in her life, and did not even watch TV. What she did all day long was cleaning what was anyway clean. Her flat.
My father hated her and thus you wonder how he could master his Oedipus Complex? He could not of course, and therefore fooled around with a dozen women at any time, reason for my mother to divorce him.
This clearly taught me that to call such men ‘alcoholics’ is a big misnomer. His problem was not alcohol but his upbringing and the psychological complex that was created through an inverse parental structure: mother pedantic and anal and father very sweet and weak. He was a mining officer and died at 45 from tuberculosis, when my father was just 9-years old.
Hence you may no more wonder why I got interested in psychology already as a child. It explains so much what otherwise remains hidden and is demonized with negative language in our society, that represses the truth of life. My father was as good a father as any other father, and he was a loving father, even when he was drunk.