Saintly Thoughts

Of Wine & Wisdom

While wine has the capacity to undo us and to censure our wisdom, it also gladdens our heart as perhaps no other substance can.  I have to admit that I have some sympathy with the besotted drunkard, whiling away his hours in a haze of gladness.  Of course, for those of us who have been blessed by life, drunkenness (especially as it expresses itself in lewdness and unsafe practices) is to be censured, but for the poor pauper whom life has spit out, what agency is left to him but the agency of the bottle?  We need to learn to be patient and understanding with such as he, for there but for the grace of God go we.  We must never forget the unsettling fact that there is nothing innate that separates the great and powerful in society from the drunkard, one may fairly quickly switch from one extreme to the other and back again, depending upon how the universe swings.  We have some semblance of will and thus responsibility; yes we are (or can be) masters of fate in a way that no other living creature is capable.  Yet we are still as reeds against the universe, buffeted by her harsh winds to and fro, whether at her fickle whim or at the urging of some dread deity, we know not (though we may believe).  Funny how one can be reminded of this under the influence of wine.  Wine may make a wise man a fool, but this can often be to the benefit of the wise man.  The freedom and loss of control which one feels when under wine's is the true nature of things.  For we like to think that we are in control, that we are willing our destinies, but be may only effectuate some broad approximation to such a state; we are really much more like the drunkard in our everyday interactions than we would like to admit.  And thus the foolishness of the drunkard is wiser than the wisdom of the powerful.  No wonder then that wine has come to play such an important part in religious ritual, to transmute into the very blood of God!  For there is truly something divine in the wisdom that this fermented drink imparts!