Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Drugs, games and talent

"90% of the adults I know are on drugs because of what they think is the normal stress of life. Here I am counting the doctor-prescribed meds, the binge-drinking on weekends, the medical marijuana, porn, tobacco, wine before dinner, or even the exercise addiction that gooses the body to release feel-good chemistry." - Scott Adams:

Dumb kids go for drugs, my brother tells me, but modern temptations - e.g. computer-based role-playing games - trap the bright ones. His daughter knows several lads who were thrown out of college because RPG stopped them working.

Actually I think clever kids go for drugs and booze and all the other vices, too. Horace's "Genus irritabile vatum" (which I would paraphrase as "excitable creative types") often try to fight fire with fire, adding more stimulation to an already over-stimulated mind. Writers are infamous for the indulgences that have often burned up their gifts.

A combination of academic dilution and anti-elitism, with a cornucopia of distractions for the young, could lead to poor harvests of the talent we need to sustain our civilisation.


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A K Haart said...

Interesting that Adams casts the net so wide. I'm sure he's right and I love his phrase "baseline circus".

Paddington said...

A lot of poor and stupid people do drugs and drink too much because their lives suck big time. I have sympathy for them.

I have much less for people who have opportunity and do it. One of my very close friends always looked for the 'easy score'. He died last year at age 46 after he destroyed his liver.

James Higham said...

Perhaps clever kids shun both drugs and gaming.

Sackerson said...

James, I don't think it's strictly to do with intelligence. IQ is the car - anywhere from a clunker to a Ferrari - but it's the driver that keeps it on the road, or not.

Sackerson said...

JD writes:

A few random thoughts -

Interesting reading that link where he says that stress will kill one third of us. My doctor would disagree, she said she has spent her working life trying to tell people that stress is the biggest killer of all. The modern mindset is blind to that fact.

I am not blind to it and I have discovered how to avoid stress as have lots of other people down the ages; it is a secret hidden in plain sight. :)

Here is another one who knows, as can be seen in a lot of his posts-

By the way, it is not true that drugs help the creative process. That is romantic nonsense. People will refer to Coleridge or de Quincy and then run out of names or start taking about the 'tortured souls' in the jazz world, ignoring the many many more who were as good as, and often better than, any of the usual suspects. Billie Holliday is famous as the tortured drug addled genius but wasn't Ella Fitzgerald a better singer? Charlie Parker is famous for his heroin dependency but he wasn't 'that' good (everything he did was a variation on the song 'Whispering') Johnny Hodges of Ellington's orchestra was just as good as was Paul Desmond.... the list is endless.

You also bemoan 'academic dilution and anti-elitism' You are not the only one, I don't know if you saw this the other night (interview with Sir Roy Strong) but it is here on YouTube in case it disappears from the Beeb's iPlayer -

One of my painting teachers met Roy Strong a few times and she said he was definitely one of life's good guys. In the film he got exasperated that everything now revolved around money and hated that he had to introduce admission charges but as he said, what's the alternative in the face of government cutting grants etc? Abolition of the Arts Council is my answer - they give far too much money to commercial galleries such as the Serpentine; it's beyond disgraceful!

Weekend Yachtsman said...

If one more bunch of interfering pokenoses calls me a drug addict because I like a couple of glasses of good red on a Friday night, King Lear is going to be invoked.

What part of "mind your own business" do these meddlesome puritans not understand?

Sackerson said...

I don't think Adams is saying don't do it, he's making an observation on stress and responses to stress. As Paddington says, for many people there's not much of an alternative.