Sunday, November 02, 2014

The Post-Alcoholic Culture?

An excerpt from a transcript of Krista Tippett's radio show, "On Being":

 Ms. Tippett: ......... Isn't it strange how, in Western culture in a field like psychotherapy or even I see this a lot in religion, in Western culture we turn these things into these chin-up experiences. We separated ourselves, we divided ourselves. I see this — I mean, yoga is everywhere now, right? And people are discovering all kinds of ways, as you say. There are all kinds of other ways to reunite ourselves, but …
Dr. van der Kolk: But it's true. Western culture is astoundingly disembodied and uniquely so. Because of my work, I've been to South Africa quite a few times and China and Japan and India. You see that we are much more disembodied. And the way I like to say is that we basically come from a post-alcoholic culture. People whose origins are in Northern Europe had only one way of treating distress: that's namely with a bottle of alcohol.
North American culture continues to continue that notion. If you feel bad, just take a swig or take a pill. And the notion that you can do things to change the harmony inside of yourself is just not something that we teach in schools and in our culture, in our churches, in our religious practices. And, of course, if you look at religions around the world, they always start with dancing, moving, singing …

Ms. Tippett: Yeah. Crying, laughing, yeah.

Dr. van der Kolk: Physical experiences. And then the more respectable people become, the more stiff they become somehow.