HARDWIRED DRUNK: AN ESSAY
Edward E. Rochon
Edward E. Rochon on Shakespir
Hardwired Drunk: An Essay
Copyright © 2016 by Edward E. Rochon
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Brain Damage: An Essay
Clitwits & G-Spots: An Essay
Cubics: A Numbers Essay]
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Holographic TV: An Essay
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Table of Contents
A childhood experience with naturally fermented cherries has led me to wonder if the human and other mammals are not hardwired to equate alcohol with nutritionally desirable food. If this is true, it might add to insight into the treatment of alcoholism. To be quite clear on the matter, I am not simply referring to the natural tendency of the animal body to desire pleasure that comes with the alcohol buzz and relaxation, but the innate tendency to desire high nutrient content that supports health.
I also wonder if an industry might develop in conjunction with the industries already making alcoholic beverages and products.
Chapter 1: Cherry Tree Wine
When I was a boy, my friends and I would steal fruit and vegetables from people’s gardens and trees. There were some cherry trees in the neighborhood. In the summertime, we would use our T-shirts as containers by lifting the bottom up into a bowl-like storage area while climbing the trees and picking. My fondness for cherries would sometimes lead me to raid on my own. One warm summer graced with a long spell of bright, sunny and fairly windless days during the cherry season, I climbed a tree and brought down a gathering of especially beautiful and ripe fruit. To my surprise the cherries tasted like wine. My delinquent friends and I would also pay winos to buy wine for us, so I was familiar with wine. The alcohol content was not great, but I gladly ate my T-shirted bowl of stolen fruit with just a hint of trepidation.
When I told my friends, they did not believe me at first. Later on, I discovered that this phenomenon is worldwide, happens to a great many types of fruit under the right conditions, and is likely how man first became familiar with wine and alcoholic fruit drinks. In Africa, elephants and other animals are known to become intoxicated by these wine trees and bushes. Birds also become tipsy. It is known that rats and lab animals can be induced to drink junk food sugar concoctions and alcoholic beverages to the point of becoming alcoholics.
We must admit that man and animals are hardwired to enjoy pleasure. We are hardwired to like sweet things. In nature, whatever the fruit, the maximum nutritional value and caloric content coincides with maximum sweetness. Many wild fruits are not especially sweet but have a great many phytonutrients and antioxidants contained in them that help preserve the fruit until ripeness. So nutrition and sweetness go together in nature. We have artificially altered fruit to maximize sweetness at the expense of many nutrients that have a bitter or less agreeable taste. This is well known. When we strip sugar from the plants (make processed sugar), we create a nutritional wasteland with unfortunate consequences for good nutrition, good teeth and good health.
Getting back to alcohol, we know that alcohol has preservative properties and is antibacterial, anti-fungal. We use it as an antiseptic. In the past, specimens were preserved in alcohol and still may be. We note that calm sunny days preserve the fruit to ripen to maximum nutritional value before falling to the ground, a bruising process that starts using up nutrients to protect the fruit from damage, ultimately contributing to the decay of the fruit in conjunction with mold and other agents. Antioxidants and phytonutrients help keep the fruit fresh. Alcohol also preserves the fruit from the effects of microbes, and the alcoholic content is low enough to prevent significant transformation of the other chemicals in all likelihood. So are we hardwired to seek out these natural alcoholic fruits? They are a great store of nutritive value with a fairly small dose of alcohol. Even if the food is eaten to drunkenness, many of the nutrients counteract the effects of intoxication.
Drunkards usually do not eat well and impairment of reasoning power makes them indifferent to the fault. It is well known that alcohol draws on nutrients to metabolize and at a rate well above other caloric sources. Hard liquor is the ultimate junk food. This brings up the matter of drunkenness
Chapter 2: Drunkenness
The Bible roundly condemns drunkenness with a few exceptions. Proverbs 31:6 advises giving wine to the perishing and heavily bereaved in spirit. This is much like outlawing opium products except for those in intense pain. The Roman Stoic philosopher, Seneca, in his work: On Tranquility of the Mind recommends intoxication from time to time to pick up the spirits, though otherwise condemning drunkenness.
Without discussing the merits of these exceptions, it is undoubtedly true that alcoholism is greatly aggravated by the effects of malnutrition so often attendant to it. This exacerbates the brain fog and sickliness of the vice. Which begs the question, is there a health food wine, or at any rate healthier alcoholic beverage that might be deliberately produced? And how might the industry produce this and in what forms?
Chapter 3: Production Options
OPTION 1: PICK YOUR OWN WINE
For the various types of fruits considered, use windbreaks to protect vines, trees, and shrubs when the ripening season arrives. The windbreaks should let the sun in, either through transparency or appropriate placing and design. We should also consider rain breaks to prevent hard rainfall from hitting the fruit. Temporary structures that can be easily erected and broken down would likely be best. Some permanent structures could be considered. There is also the greenhouse option where appropriate. Invite customers to come in and pick their own. This is quite common in season to maximize profits for farmers and cater to the tastes of customers.
OPTION 2: STORE BOUGHT FRESH DELIVERY
Sell fruit baskets at package stores and other venues. The alcoholic content will help preserve freshness for a time, and the alcoholic content would likely increase a bit. This would help protect the fruit from bruising and spoilage, extending shelf life.
OPTION 3: WINE SMOOTHIES
Sell smoothies at restaurants, kiosks and grocery stores. The alcohol should help extend shelf life.
OPTION 4: WHOLE FRUIT NEW WINE
For most of history new wine was the most common form of imbibing. The aging process is fraught with potential difficulty. The process was not well understood scientifically until the age of Louis Pasteur. The process starts with sugars in the fruit converting to wine that then converts to the end product of vinegar. Vinegar was highly prized in the ancient world as it still is today. Much of the wine that the poor folks drank was largely vinegar after the first few months of the harvest. When the Apostle Paul suggested drinking a little wine to aid digestion and health, he was quite likely referring to vinegar, the very word derived from the word for wine. Vinegar has long been touted as a health food and there is probably much truth to this. The Roman Army drank vinegar to quench thirst on its marches to save excessive drinking of scarce water. The acetic acid can help digest food in the stomach. When Jesus was given the sponge soaked with vinegar to quench his thirst, he was likely not being mocked but helped. The wine that Jesus drank at dinners was probably of low alcoholic content. The ancients did know how to get a high alcoholic content in wine, but they would dilute the wine with water quite often, certainly at meals with children to extend the supply and prevent intoxication. The Pilgrims would drink a quart of beer a day, but the beer was the modern equivalent of one 12 oz can and the beer likely of a higher nutritive value. The water was suspect, unless coming from a spring or well of known purity.
A bottled smoothie with an expiration date would have more nutrients in it. Care would need to be taken to ensure the consistency of the product. Shaking the bottle might be required, but this is true of many products today, especially those sold as organic and whole food. In the case of bottled smoothies, adding herbs and spices and other natural products might aid in prolonging the life of and enjoyment of the product.
Wineries and orchards could continue as now but adding these products as a sideline. Some other matters to consider are making the windbreaks to withstand high winds while keeping expenses down. Aviation industry and kite makers might offer expertise here, using wind tunnels to test maximum wind resistance and ways to break down windbreaks in storms. These breaks might be a low end supplement to their annual revenue flow. Protecting plants from wind and frost is old hat. So we would add to knowledge already garnered.
Functioning drunks can go on for years supporting themselves before the final toll of their vice brings the curtain down prematurely on their life. Better healthier drunks than less healthy. To be sure, the higher alcoholic content and cheaper products will win out, but even the supplement of more nutritional products could be useful. Even drunks have some concern for their health for the most part. And we must ask if the addiction is based on a hardwired predisposition to alcohol in food. Millions of people imbibing in these products might give clues to reforming drunks into healthier drunks. A nourished brain would be less likely to indulge in the cheaper hard stuff: perhaps?
Other Works by the Author
Collected Poems I
Collected Poems II
Elements of Physics: Matter
Elements of Physics: Space
Elements of Physics: Time
Unified Field Theory: An Essay
Space as Infinity II
Golden Age Essays
Golden Age Essays II
Golden Age Essays III
Golden Age Essays IV
Golden Age Essays V
My current biography and contact links are posted at . My writings include essays, poetry and dramatic work. Though I write poetry, my main interest is essays about the panoply of human experience and knowledge. This includes philosophy, science and the liberal arts. Comments, reviews and critiques of my work are welcome. Thank you for reading my book.
A brief preface describes the scope of the work. Chapter 1 recalls a boyhood experience of eating fermented cherries. Later research showed that this is common in many fruits when extended periods of calm, sunny days occur during the harvest time. Nutrients are allowed to ripen to maximum content. Alcohol has anti-microbial attributes, extending the nutrient life we suppose. Animals enjoy eating these fruits. Chapter 2 briefly discusses views on drunkenness. Chapter 3 proposes selling naturally fermented fruit at the orchard and winery. It suggests packaging these and selling them at stores. It proposes using the fermented fruit to make alcoholic smoothies fresh. It also proposes selling the smoothies in bottled form. It also proposes bottling smoothie wine, whole fruit wines, that would generally be drank as new wine, but with a longer shelf life than store bought fresh smoothies. I note that other industries could get involved in making viable windbreaks to allow natural fermenting of the product, suggest alcoholics might supplement with or exclusively drink these products for better health. If we are hardwired to drink alcoholic beverages, we might gain insights into alcoholism.