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February 18, 2007

Human Emotions and Historical Analysis

The facile observation that, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it," has remained one of the more famous aphorisms of our time ever since George Santayana made it (Reason in Common Sense) near the turn of the last century. Sadly, it’s likely to remains so. That’s because we humans seem to have a built-in tendency to disagree, often violently, over what we will allow ourselves to believe;  both as groups and as individuals. In other words, what is regarded as ‘true’ at any one moment has always been both a matter of belief, and subject to great disagreement. A critical corollary of Santayana’s truism is that the critical influence of our emotions on our political and religious beliefs has tended to be denied; even as they were being manipulated by those seeking to exert control over human society.  That history also confirms that our  beliefs have produced violence along a spectrum ranging from fist fights through formally declared wars between nations to barbarous acts of terrorism by loosely affiliated groups does not auger well in a modern world increasingly understood to be but a speck in a vast cosmos and constantly stressed by recent ‘explosions’ of its human population and the information available to that population.

Is it any wonder then, that stress, anxiety, and their various named surrogates: insomnia, depression, PTSD, and ADD, have become a major focus of the television advertising purchased by our increasingly competitive and lucrative Pharmaceutical Industry? When one also considers that it takes only a few searching questions to reveal that nearly all the Californians seeking my ‘medical’ endorsement of their  continued use of inhaled cannabis have clearly been self-medicating with it since adolescence, is it any wonder that such illegal use has been  steadily increasing among those who tried it during adolescence and are now being punished ever more severely by a central government clearly committed to protecting its current drug policy?

That seems like enough rhetorical questions for now; more later.

Doctor Tom

Posted by tjeffo at February 18, 2007 07:31 PM