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Problems drive an alcoholic to drink

Well... kind of true. Problems, achievements, company, lack of company, boredom.... all drive an alcoholic to drink. Problems drive an alcoholic to drink, yes, but so does everything else.

Alcoholics are only showing their true nature

This is not true. Alcoholism changes the perception of needs so that the need for alcohol is always urgent and more critical than the need for relationships, dignity or other objectives that drive social interactions. It is not "inner nature" to court damage to reputation for example - even for exploitative or self-destructive people, but it is a frequent sacrifice in the pursuit of alcohol. The laziest alcoholic will court a mile long walk to buy alcohol, for another example.

I write/paint/sing/whatever better after a peg or two // Alcohol makes me creative

What alcoholism does is lower inhibitions. It removes internal censors by the simple means of reducing the brain's capacity for complex thinking. It may seem like increased productivity if you have self image issues or other inhibitions preventing you from working freely, but it most certainly does not improve quality unless your standards are really low. The lowered inhibitions are as likely to let your creativity through as your lack of it.

I don't drink in the morning, so I am not an alcoholic // You turned me into an alcoholic

Alcoholism evolves. If people have raised concerns about your drinking, if you drink compulsively, if social occasions seem boring without drinks, if you avoid non-drinking company in your drinking timings, if being denied drinks makes you angry... then it is a matter of time.

A person's presence in another's life may coincide with an escalation in drinking, but one person cannot turn another into an alcoholic. Period. Such accusations by alcoholics are a way of shifting the burden of guilt. They should be ignored.

I drink from my own money // I know my limits

On running out of alcohol, the ownership or source of the money (or directly alcohol) are no longer issues. Limits get reviewed and approved extensions automatically. It does not matter where the money for the drink comes from, when it runs out, the price of alcoholism is paid by the home with emotional damage, physical damage, financial damage that goes well beyond the cost of the alcohol consumed. This could be anyone coming into intimate contact with the person if the alcoholic no longer lives with family.

I am really respected and loved by the people who work at XYZ Bar/Club/Liquor shop // They let me pay later if I don't have money

If you are known and regular enough for an establishment serving alcohol to be paying special attention to you, it is worth considering that you have become business they count on. This is not to say that there is no genuine affection and friendly relationship that grows, but it is extremely concerning when a person flaunts these relationships in front of other relationships. Many alcoholics also start nurturing their self-images that are damaged badly by alcoholism by seeing this as servitude and superiority, much like a ruler of the bar. This fantasy is profitable to waiters, because it invariably leads to magnanimous gestures and generous tips. A very definite warning sign for the person reduced to asserting self worth in this manner.

 

If you have used these explanations for yourself or someone else, know that the need for those explanations to be required in itself is a sign of alcoholism. No one asks a person who doesn't drink too much why they drink so much. At least not often. Requiring explanations for drinking, particularly when speaking with people who drink themselves, means those explanations are myths, unless they are "I drink, because I feel I cannot do without"

Part 1 || Part 2 || Part 3 || Part 4 || Part 5 || Part 6 || Part 7

This paper closely follows the text of a paper presented at the National Seminar on the contributions of K. P. Chattopadhyay and Iravati Karve to the development of Social Anthropology, organised by The Asiatic Society, Kolkata, September 8-9, 2009. The article hypothesises that the reason for some of the social ills embedded in the meta-culture of India as an independent former colony are the result of unconsciously holding in the mind British Imperialism as the aggressor, even though over sixty years ago India got rid of the yoke of being a colonised country. What the founding fathers of newly independent India did not take into consideration was the impact of two hundred years of barbaric control over the indigenous population of the sub-continent by an imperial power. Most of the ministers of the newly formed Government of India came from the stratum of Western educated upper middle class elite who had little idea of the realities of 80 percent of rural Indians at the time of independence. Yet in their push for creating a country wedded to the ideal of democracy, they decided to introduce election to all seats of State power based on adult franchise.

Inevitably this resulted in gradual dominance in the state legislatures and the central parliament, the lower house of which is known as the Lok Sabha, of people from rural areas still maintaining a feudal outlook with 200 years of slavery internalised from under a punitive and ruthless British yoke.

Keywords: Colonisation-in-the–mind; Internalisation of aggressor; avoidance of punishment.

I have chosen the topic of Colonialism in the Mind to present in this seminar at the invitation of the Asiatic Society. I am grateful to the Asiatic Society for according me this opportunity to honour my late father’s memory, particularly because I had missed participating in the centenary celebration of his life and work by the Asiatic Society, as I was in Australia at that time. I shall leave out any reference to the work of Iravati Karve because I moved away from the field of Social Anthropology about four and half decades ago to the area of Behavioural Science. One of the consequences is that my memory of Iravati Karve’s work has become dim. Thereafter, about three decades ago, I had further re-invented myself as a Socio-Analyst to work with unconscious group dynamics, which remains my current field of interest. As a result, the focus of this paper will be largely based on the interpretation of one aspect of collective unconscious behaviour of Indians, with special reference to Bengal. Like all interpretations of unconscious dynamics, whether those of individuals or of groups of various sizes, the contents have to be treated as a series of hypotheses. Based on their experience and internal evidence, it is for the individuals in the audience, and later in the readership, to decide how many of the hypotheses are true.

The second reason for choosing this topic is to remind those present in this seminar that K.
P. Chattopadhyay’s scholarship extended to include the unconscious aspect of human mind and behaviour as well. Not only did he teach in his class at the Calcutta University some basic theories of psychoanalysis, he also published a paper on the case study of amnesia.

The third reason for choosing this topic is to highlight yet another important area of K. P. Chattopadhyay’s life and interest. KPC, as my father was known to many, went to England shortly after World War One ended to pursue a doctoral degree in physics under J.J. Thompson. However, he gave up the idea halfway through as Sir J.J. would not allow him to enter the area of nuclear physics. He then wrote an essay in Social Anthropology, on the basis of which he received the Anthony-Wilkins Scholarship and joined Cambridge to work under W. H. R. Rivers. He could not complete the residence rule to get his degree as he was deported from U.K. for his political activities in that country in organising Indian seamen to stand up against discriminatory treatment.

My father was not only a freedom fighter, but a man of great personal integrity. He had felt at the time of independence that the Indian National Congress and the Nehru Government had betrayed certain vital aspects of the pledge for complete independence that they had earlier taken. That, according to him, would result in a colonial hangover in free India, which will be very difficult to acknowledge and deal with later on. So he resigned from the office of President, Nadia District Congress Committee as well as the membership of the Indian National Congress. He also refused to accept any of the privileges offered by the government to former freedom fighters who had been in British jails. Instead, he joined the West Bengal State Legislature’s Legislative Council for several terms as an independent member, supported by the Left. In view of that aspect of his life, I felt it appropriate to choose the topic that is the subject matter of this paper.

While I agree with Ashok Mitra’s (2005) hypothesis regarding colonial hangover in present day India, my intention in this article is to show that this hangover of colonialism runs far deeper in the Indian psyche. It is difficult to realise the presence of this continued hangover of colonialism most likely because it has been lodged in the collective unconscious. The process was started by the British imperialists, I guess, soon after Lord Macaulay was supposed to have delivered the following address at the British Parliament on February 2, 1835:

I have travelled across the length and breadth of India and I have not seen one person who is beggar, who is a thief. Such wealth is seen in this country, such high moral values, people of such calibre, that I do not think we would ever conquer this country, unless we break the very backbone of this nation, which is her spiritual and cultural heritage, and, therefore I propose that we replace the old and ancient education system, her culture, for if the Indians think that all that is foreign and English is good and greater than their own, they will lose their self- esteem, their native culture and they will become what we want them, a truly dominated nation.

To that end, first, I shall examine some of the overt phenomena that are part and parcel of life in India today.

Continued in Part 2

Biographical Note

Gouranga Chattopadhyay is Emeritus Professor of HR of the Academy of Human Resources, Ahmedabad and an independent OD consultant, executive coach and personal counsellor. He can be contacted at gipisi2@gmail.com.

A lecture at University of Texas, Austin by P. Sainath, sponsored by the University of Texas School of Journalism, the South Asia Institute, AID-Austin and the Society of Professional Journalists UT.

Part 1 || Part 2 || Part 3 || Part 4 || Part 5

In 1999, Egypt came under the structural reforms regime of the World Bank and IMF, but for some reason, they didn't push it. Maybe because the ministers of that time were a little smarter.

2004 - Mubarak sacks most of his cabinet, brings in guys, trained - where else? - land of the free, home of the brave. Brings them in, and they ruthlessly implement the economic reforms and you've got chaos. You've got 80% of those below 30-35 unemployed.

Ya, so democracy is a very important issue. Unlike in say, India, they did not have the option of voting out governments. Please know this, just so that you understand this, how important the food issue is. Election after election in India, many elections in India, I can't even count for you how many, the price of bread has been the price of power.

In 2009 elections, all those governments that provided cheaper rice to their public won those elections. Whether the BJP in Chattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh, BJD in Orissa under Navin Patnaik, the DMK in Tamil Nadu... it made a huge difference, because the public were reeling under food prices.

Understand how important. In Egypt or Yemen, the public did not have the option of using the electoral route of protest.

So yes, the democracy thing was an important driver, but incredibly important was the food issue.

Here we are.

Let's take each one of these countries. So I've given you the Egyptian stats. In the 6 years between 2004 and 2010 the rate of accumulation and concentration of wealth in Egypt is even higher than in between 1999 and 2004. Inequality is a theme. Deepening inequality is a huge driver.

And we come to the United States. Egypt IS the world's biggest importer of wheat. Take Yemen.

According to the World Food Programme... Yeme is by the way one of the very poor countries of the world. 15.7% of Yemen's population lives on less than a dollar a day. 43% live on less than 2 dollars a day. And in three months this year, in three months of 2011 , 6% of Yemen's population went below the poverty line, driven by food prices and drought.

Are we beginning to get the idea that food matters? 6% of Yemen's entire population in the first three months of this year. January, February, March. That's the estimate of the World Food Programme, which has declared that they are broke, because the budget that they had made for Yemen was destroyed by the price rise.

They had a very large budget for Yemen and now estimate they are 28 million dollars short. Those 28 million dollars measure for you the rise in food prices. So they're saying, we are going to have to drop from our list more than 300 thousand hungry people if we are to continue in the same budget.

Let's get to Syria. You know, Assad. President Assad, drew a quick lesson from what was happening in Egypt, drew a quick lesson from what was happening in Tunisia and immediately declared that he would bring down the prices of the staples. But you know what, it didn't work. The crowds are getting bigger.

But it is interesting to me that he recognized it, as always too late. Mubarak also. Too late.

In Yemen, it did not start with Twitter or Facebook, it started in the south with a bunch of students bringing out a public declaration against high food prices. School students. High school students. They took out a protest against... and they were astonished by the number of people who joined them.

When they went out to... because their meals in the canteen, everything was cut by these extremely high prices. That's so much for Yemen.

Take You know, in Syria, immediately after the crisis started, Syria lowered taxes on olive oil by 53% , on taxes on sugar by 25%, lowered taxes across the board on foodstuffs, but the price increase is so high, that it's not having that much of an impact. In fact, the announcement that they would do it, led to rapid hoarding and speculation of food grain, and that has also bitten into the crisis very severely.

The Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that in the year 2008 64 million people went below the poverty line, driven by food prices. The FAO has a food insecurity atlas that you can look at. 2008 was 64 million people. When they bring out their 2011 issue, you will find that it was exceeded in 2010 because much much greater stress on pricess came up in 2010.

Here's an interesting thing. As always, after the horse has bolted the stable the IMF comes out with the study saying that there is a serious link between food prices and political unrest. Gee! We needed to know that. And only the IMF could tell us. They did a study between 1970 and 2007 which said that a 10% increase.... I haven't quite understood ... very written in the jargon of the economists. But what it basically says is that it adds a factor of 0.5 in a given year, in the next year of raising the prices in political unrest. In terms of the average political unrest, that is an increase of 100% - that's basically what they're trying to say is what I understand.

Often, this seems to unfold against not just food price increase, but double digit inflation overall. In India, food price inflation has been ranging between 13 and 18 percent for the last year, year and a half. And overall inflation has been close to double digit, but it's up and down, within a band of 2%.

Now let's take a look at my favorite magazine and website - Forbes.

Was all this an issue of demand and supply? Was all this chaos over riots and food was it entirely an issue of demand and supply? Yes, those were factors. The collapse of the Russian harvest, the drought in Australia had an impact, but nothing like the impact that speculation on commodities is having on world food prices.

Do you remember in 2008 the price of petrol went from 40 dollars a barrel to 170 dollars a barrel and then came down to 120? production didn't change so fast, did it? Food prices if you remember shot up in 2008 and toward the end of 2008 fell dramatically.

Why does that happen?

It's called futures trading. It's called speculation in food grain. The difference about speculating in food grain and.... see now some of the wealthiest investors... I've got to read you a quote from Wall Street Journal on this. What are they...? They are not even acquiring a physical commodity. They are not acquiring so many tons of rice. They are just betting on the price of rice.

They are just betting and they have a very simple bet. Food price goes ... up.

So its driving the prices of food way beyond what the public of many, many nations can afford. That's what's happening. Okay?

So it's really going dramatically up, and Fortune advises its investors ... it says "this is a bet worth dipping into." It's going up.

So I... today I looked at Fortune's list of fastest growing industries of 2009. What was number 1? Food Production. Fastest growing in revenues, food production. Number 2 is Energy, number 3 is petroleum refining, but Number 1 is food production.

In the top 20 there are two other food related... food processing is number 15, and another food related item is in the top 20, but food production is the number 1 in revenues, and in terms of growth of profit, the fourth most profitable industry in the world.

According to Fortune 500, whom I trust implicitly, because they tell me correctly how many billionaires we have each year.

And it's very... Fortune's 2009 results are very important. In a way they tell us what happened and what follows in 2010. When we look at those numbers today, we get a much better understanding of the food crisis.

Here are some of the biggest beneficiaries of that boom. Number 1 company in the world. Profiting from the largest expansion. Number 1 industry in the world and the fourth highest profit making industry in the world is Archer Daniels Midland - ADM.

If you look at it in terms of percentage change in profits, the food industry 2008-09 48% increase 42.8% increase. The next highest is some 14% behind and that is energy.

Here is how Archer Daniels Midland - an American company did. I'm quoting from Wall Street Journal "It not only reported record third quarter profits and windfall as all other food companies including Monsanto did, in the seeds sector, but Archer Daniel's profits included a seven-fold increase - a net increase in its unit that stores transports and trades in grain. Not produces grain.

The highest profits were in the units in those companies storing grain. You can the enhance speculation. You're not producing one morsel of grain. You are trading in it, you are hoarding in it, you're speculating in it, you're storing it and that unit has the highest profits of the fastest growing industry in the world.

Tells you how important food is.

Welcome to the ultimate profit zone. I'm surprised Warren hasn't found it yet or maybe he has investments we don't know about. It's called food and water. You know, if the world has to do without petroleum, it will. Humanity lived without it for millenia, but you can't live without food and water.

The countries that control food grain in the next twenty years will run the world.

The countries that control food grain or the food grain trade, they have the world by its belly. It's literally having the world by its belly. Now if that was Archer Daniel's profits, you know, I won't go into the whole list. the profits became so much, that the United States Senate set up a commission.... what was it called... the commodity futures trading commission. It held a session in Washington with Congressmen participating, I think, because of the kind of damage it was doing.

Today, the point of it is that hedge funds and index funds control between an estimated 50-60 percent of wheat traded on the world's largest commodity markets. So hedge funds and index funds are driving food prices. In India, the volume of futures trade - it's not possible to calculate how many percent it has increased in 18 to 24 months. The percentage and level it has increased in a very, very brief time.

So that's what's happening.

By the way the food production industry increase - I said 42.8% - I'm wrong, it is 48.8%.

Now the fast growing investment is coming. It is moving to another area. Farmland. How many of the Indians sitting in this - or the people of Indian origin sitting in this audience are aware that India is buying vast tracts of farmland in Kenya and Ethiopia. Are you aware of this? [inaudible audience response] Two people. Not bad. That's about the National average.

We're locked in a race with China and we're damned irritated because they've bought more land than us. And what are we buying this land for? To grow food in India. Having destroyed India's food production capabilities over 20 years of neo-liberal economics.

And we're buying... we're going to be buying hundreds and thousands of acres - we've invested 4.3 billion dollars in Ethiopia as a country. We're going to be buying tens of thousands of farmland in Ethiopia - for God's sake, don't you think they have enough problems without us landing up there?

[contd in Part 4]

Unconscious processes are those we are not aware of. Before all the high IQ internetizens assault me, let me say, most of what we do is unconscious. We are automatically reacting to many things which come to action only if there seems to be no automatic response possible, or if something unexpected happens. Like, you are reading this page and scrolling as needed automatically. If I changed the behaviour of the page in how it responded to the mouse, you'd notice, consciously figure out how to achieve what you wanted.

There are also many layers and processes happening simultaneously - sometimes related, sometimes independent. For example, while you read the page and scrolled, you were also maintaining balance, evaluating what you read, planning a response.... none of which changed or even became conscious when you addressed the dissonance with the scrolling.

Many, many things we understand somewhat are unconscious. Stereotypes, superstitions, bias, reactions, perceptions....

Usually, when something is inexplicably illogical on the conscious plane, something contrary to what is in our consciousness exists in our unconscious. This is a vast and diverse subject, which I cannot do justice to in article, so I suggest reading up a variety of writers and learning from observing the world, if you find this intriguing. Good start is "Shadow Aspect - Jung" or Freud. But there are many.

The thing is that these processes being UNconscious, pointing them out is usually met with utter disbelief, rejection and disagreement. That is because they are not conscious, duh. It takes some digging and examining data rather than memory - which is 'written' by the unconscious anyway.

Unconscious perceptions rarely evolve without conscious intervention. For example, a child's instinctive fear of heights keeps getting revised with his awareness of increasing capacity to handle it. Even an adult will balk at a fall greater than he believes he can jump, but that distance keeps getting revised as improved ability is registered. People also fear heights irrationally. They have usually 'clubbed' all heights as dangerous rather than 'graded' their threat. Point being, new information needs to be assimilated in order to revise old perceptions.

I have a diagnosis on Kashmir's problems with the Army.

Kashmir is an integral part of India is the government line. Kashmir feels occupied rather than included is the Kashmiri. There are a million dimensions and psychological processes.

One big thing. The unconscious is fairly primitive. Expect ghastly things, zero logic beyond action-consequence, imagery rather than complex ideas and feelings driving everything once you step into the 'zone'.

Kashmiri Pandits were persecuted out of the valley. It was horrendous. It 'hurt' India deeply. The Army presence increased. The Army are 'protectors'. The Kashmiri Muslims were the 'culprits'. India is largely Hindu. The unconscious perception of the country as well as the Army becomes that the Army is dealing with the Kashmiri Muslim barbarians to protect the country from their criminal acts.

Since then, militancy has become better understood, better controlled. However, we have not stopped thinking of the Kashmiri common man as inherently dangerous. The Army is still "protecting" the country from its own citizens.

In effect, the country has unconsciously judged Kashmir for the ethnic cleansing of the Pandits and the Army holds them imprisoned for the safety of all. To the unconscious, these things like human rights don't exist. Either you are for, or you are against, and if you are against, you will be picking up fights. Be it detentions, rapes, tortures, killings, whatever. Consciously, of course they don't. OF COURSE. They fully believe that they are protecting the Kashmiri citizens as well, but some will keep 'breaking rules' so to say. The unconscious sense of revenge is a powerful thing.

It is equally true for the Kashmiris. To them, the Army is the 'enemy'. They can do no right. No matter what they do, they are evil. Anybody being hurt for any reason by the Army is an intentional Army atrocity intended to attack kashmiris. Etc

This process is locked in a strong, defining perception. It isn't going to go away unless addressed specifically. It is powerful enough to create memories to illustrate, and it is powerful enough to suppress memories that don't fit - on both ends.

Similarly, the separatists, Pakistan, etc have their own narratives. Equally illogical. The only reason I'm not listing them out is that there is no point in the specifics and getting into arguments - the point is in looking beyond assumptions of reality. These 'jumps of logic' will actually be individual to each person and it reflects in what they speak of the most.

The unconscious 'knows' what is right/wrong based entirely on the experiencing. I can tell you a tale of some atrocity done by a fictitious king of a fictitious country on fictitious citizens of unproven innocence and if you even have so much as a strong opinion against that king now, I can give you a book a year later with the hero having the same name as this fictitious king, and you'll call it a lousy book. You may not even remember the story I tell you now, but still! How many times have you been inclined to think of someone favourably or unfavourably simply based on look or name? Your unconscious decides that if they look like that, they abuse their dog, or if they have this name, they are snobbish - likely because you formed that perception elsewhere with someone else who looked like that or had that name. That's how the unconscious operates. Logic has nothing to do with it, and it is devastatingly real. It has a name. Its called projection. Google it up. Its fascinating insight into just how primitive we all are.

A participant in a lab where we explored unconscious processes once said that the scariest thing in the entire world was what she could discover hiding in her own mind.

The only fix is making it conscious. Questioning those perceptions and re-evaluating reality.

All parties should also look into their own projections and come to a more reality oriented understanding of the picture. The answers will always be uncomfortable, because they were suppressed for a reason - discomfort. However, those buried realities skew everything they look at.

And we have an instinctive understanding of this, because there have always been demands of going back into history to investigate and "fact find".

This will help resolve Kashmir, because it will allow people to work with reality. It will help the Army regain its honor. It will help the Kashmiris regain their dignity. It will even help Kashmiri Pandits find acknowledgment - they are currently buried next to all the suppressed issues around their story. It may not solve any political problem, but being able to address the human conflicts will allow breathing space and healing for better answers to emerge.

India has many excellent people who have devoted their lives in the study of the unconscious and its impact on people. It might be worthwhile to invest in entirely apolitical large scale interventions for all stake holders as a humanitarian contribution towards resolution. If Kashmir is suspicious of India, it could even be possible to ask foreign social scientists.

Think of it. We have trauma counselling for a reason. The entire valley AND the soldiers qualify.

Note: All the intense Kashmir debaters on both the three sides of the two sided coin, please excuse. I am not about judgments. I throw in everything that seems significant. If it makes sense, great. If it doesn't, that's okay too.