Marginalia, no.204

If merely ‘feeling good’ could decide, drunkenness would be the supremely valid human experience.

~ William James, The Varieties of Religious Experience

There was a street festival this past weekend that sent a flood of drunken out-of-towners through our neighborhood. My son and I kept a tally of persons seen driving erratically (four), pissing in the ivy (three), and punching each other (two). With none of James’s caveats, Abraham Cowley thought human intoxication a mirror of cosmic intoxication: “Nothing in nature’s sober found / But an eternal health goes round.” I don’t know about that. One could make a good case, I think, for the Temperance Society membership of things like angry baboons and pancreatic cancer.

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