“religion… is the opiate of the masses.”— Karl Marx
The above quote is interesting, in that though Marx is using it in a negative connotation, hidden in the critique is also religions positive function, it helps people deal with the suffering inherent in existence.
Religion, for many, if it has not turned into a Creed – or has not become petrified – has instead been functionally abandoned, and people have returned to where we were before; materialistic pursuits of pleasure and egoic self-fulfilment.
For those that cannot function in our society due to various natural inequalities or misfortune they instead turn to pain killers – “real” Opioids. If one cannot get pleasure and self-fulfilment from chasing materialism, sooner or later – even the rich and famous – turn to the pharmaceutical solution.
“I hope everybody could get rich and famous and will have everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it’s not the answer.”Jim Carrey
But this is not a new. In the West tranquilizers of all kinda have seen an increase in usage well before the opioid epidemic; antidepressants/SSRI’s, etc, which mask psychological pain, have been going up since Valium.
The US is the largest consumer of antidepressants.
“To be satiated with the “necessities” [of external success] is no doubt an inestimable source of happiness, yet the inner man continues to raise his claim, and this can be satisfied by no outward possessions. And the less this voice is heard in the chase after the brilliant things of this world, the more the inner man becomes the source of inexplicable misfortune and uncomprehended unhappiness in the midst of living conditions whose outcome was expected to be entirely different.”Carl G. Jung
This should not be a surprise to those that study Jungian Psychology, though, on the other hand, I think this information is going to be ignored well into the collapse of the West. If we end up salvaging something, the question that should be asked by those working in the field of psychology (though this is a misnomer, for in reality it seems to have turned to neurology instead); Are you masking the psychic pain, or trying to cure it? Today, most of the medical establishment seems to be focused on pain reduction, but never really touch on curing the wound. And I think this is because a lot of these same people have not actually healed the “wound” in themselves.
Only a wounded physician (who has healed their own wound) can heal effectively.
…the wounded healer is the archetype of the Self [our wholeness, the God within] and is at the bottom of all genuine healing procedures.Marie Louise Von Franz
Why America? A quote from Alexis de Tocqueville from “Democracy in America“:
“In America I saw the freest and most enlightened men placed in the happiest circumstances that the world affords, it seemed to me as if a cloud habitually hung upon their brow, and I thought them serious and almost sad, even in their pleasures. The chief reason for this contrast is that [they are] forever brooding over advantages they do not possess. It is strange to see with what feverish ardor the Americans pursue their own welfare, and to watch the vague dread that constantly torments them lest they should not have chosen the shortest path which may lead to it. A native of the United States clings to this world’s goods as if he were certain never to die; and he is so hasty in grasping at all within his reach that one would suppose he was constantly afraid of not living long enough to enjoy them. He clutches everything, he holds nothing fast, but soon loosens his grasp to pursue fresh gratifications…
Death at length overtakes him, but it is before he is weary of his bootless chase of that complete felicity which forever escapes him. At first sight there is something surprising in this strange unrest of so many happy men, restless in the midst of abundance. The spectacle itself, however, is as old as the world; the novelty is to see a whole people furnish an exemplification of it. Their taste for physical gratifications must be regarded as the original source of that secret disquietude which the actions of the Americans betray and of that inconstancy of which they daily afford fresh examples. He who has set his heart exclusively upon the pursuit of worldly welfare is always in a hurry, for he has but a limited time at his disposal to reach, to grasp, and to enjoy it. The recollection of the shortness of life is a constant spur to him. Besides the good things that he possesses, he every instant fancies a thousand others that death will prevent him from trying if he does not try them soon. This thought fills him with anxiety, fear, and regret and keeps him mind in ceaseless trepidation, which leads him perpetually to change his plans and his abode…Men will then be seen continually to change their track for fear of missing the shortest cut to happiness.”
When happiness is the pursuit, one is sure to never reach it.