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LN Tolstoy: Why do people become intoxicated?
Ask the person why he started drinking wine and drinking. He will answer you: “this is pleasant, everyone drinks”, and he adds: “for fun”. Some, those who have never given themselves the trouble to think about whether it is good or bad that they drink wine, add more that the wine is healthy, gives strength, that is, they will say that the injustice of which has long been proven .
Ask the smoker why he started smoking tobacco and smokes now, and he will answer the same: “so, out of boredom, everyone smokes”.
During the period of the conscious life, a person can often notice two separate creatures in himself; one is blind, sensual, and the other is sighted, spiritual. A blind animal being eats, drinks, rests, sleeps, multiplies and moves, like a running machine; a sighted spiritual being associated with an animal does nothing by itself, but only assesses the activity of the animal being by the fact that it coincides with it when it approves of this activity and disagrees with it when it does not approve of it.
... A sighted creature can be compared with a compass needle, pointing at one end at Nord, at the other at the opposite - Sud and with a plate covered in its extension, invisible until everything that carries the arrow moves in its direction, and protruding and becoming prominent, as soon as what carries the arrow deviates from the direction indicated by it.
In the same way, a sighted spiritual being, the manifestation of which, verbally, we call conscience, always shows one end for good, the other for opposite, for evil, and is not visible to us until we deviate from the direction given to them, that is, from evil to good. But it is necessary to do an act contrary to the direction of conscience, and a consciousness of a spiritual being appears, indicating the deviation of animal activity from the direction indicated by conscience.
And as a navigator, he could not continue to work with oars, car or sail, knowing that he was not going where he wanted to, until he gave his movement a direction corresponding to the arrow of a compass or did not hide it from himself deviation, so just and every person, having felt the split of his conscience with animal activity,he cannot continue this activity until he either brings it into harmony with his conscience, or he does not hide from himself the instructions of his conscience about the wrongness of animal life.
All human life, one might say, consists only of these two activities:
1) to bring their activities into harmony with conscience and
2) hiding from himself the instructions of his conscience for the possibility of continuing life.
Some do the first, others - the second. To achieve the first, there is only one way: moral enlightenment is an increase of light in oneself and attention to what it illuminates; for the second — to hide the instructions of conscience from oneself — there are two ways: external and internal. The external way is to engage in activities that distract attention from the instructions of the conscience; internal - is to obscure the very conscience.
... Not in taste, not in pleasure, not in entertainment, not in fun lies the cause of the worldwide spread of hashish, opium, wine, tobacco, but only in the need to hide from yourself the instructions of conscience.
But it is only serious and impartial, not blocking yourself, to think about it, to understand that, firstly, if the use of intoxicants in large amounts immediately drowns out a person’s conscience, then the constant use of these substances should produce the same effect,since the intoxicating substances act physiologically always in the same way, always exciting and then dulling the brain activity, whether they will be taken in large or small methods; secondly, that if intoxicants tend to drown the conscience, they always have it - and then, when under the influence of their murder, theft, violence, and when under their influence a word is said that would not be felt, it is thought and felt what was not thought and would not be felt without them; and, thirdly, that if the consumption of intoxicants is needed in order to stifle their conscience to thieves, robbers, prostitutes, then it is also necessary for people in professions condemned by their conscience, even if these professions are recognized as legitimate and honorable by other people .
In short, one cannot fail to understand that the use of intoxicants in large or small sizes, periodically or permanently, in a higher or lower circle is caused by the same reason — the need to silence the voice of conscience, in order not to see the discord of life with the demands of consciousness. .