Sunday, March 13, 2005

Chesterton and a GKC Friend quoted by youth. From the February 28, 2005 issue of the The Technician. Here are two excerpts:

1. One of my favorite writers, G.K. Chesterton, has said, "The dipsomaniac and the abstainer are not only both mistaken, but they both make the same mistake. They both regard wine as a drug and not as a drink."

I believe this is precisely the problem with many college students today. On the one hand, there are many -- often holding to misguided religious precepts -- who see alcohol as intrinsically evil. In their nervous preoccupation to keep their own hands clean, they might just miss out on some of the most memorable moments in life. And also, these people fail to see the real problem: alcohol does not destroy lives, a lack of discipline with it does.

And then, on the other hand, there are those pitiable creatures whose lives have been wound so tightly around the bottle that they cannot enjoy themselves without a few stiff drinks. The source of joy in their life is no longer family, friendship and personal achievement, but alcohol. Rendered powerless by their dependence, they literally drown themselves in a sea of social irrelevance and personal turmoil.

2. A brilliant journalist, Malcolm Muggeridge, has written these powerful words that I think speak mountains of truth to our generation: "I have no belief in abstinence for abstinence's own sake, no wish under any circumstances to check any fulfillment of your life and being. But I have to say to you this: that whatever life is or is not about, it is not to be expressed in terms of drug stupefaction and casual sexual relations. However else we may venture into the unknown it is not I assure you on the plastic wings of Playboy magazine or psychedelic fancies."

Beer and wine, in moderation, are wonderful things. Having a great glass of beer at a killer party can be a defining moment; but when our parties are defined by the beer, it is because there is a vacuum within our culture and perhaps within our very own lives. Meaning in life is found in relationships, not in the false hopes and simulated self-strength that alcohol brings. The primrose path of alcohol over-indulgence is only paved with fleeting pleasures and lasting emptiness.

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