‘The Health Tribunal’ (2017)

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Thanks, but no thanks. I’m turning in my acorn necklace.

People who spend too much time together tend to get weird together.

We started out as a softball team which by and by turned into a bunch of pot-heads who insisted on conformity.

The Health Tribunal

By the way, have you noticed nobody’s calling it “pot” anymore? Now it’s all “cannabis.” Much more scientific!

For my generation in the 1970s, it was all drugs, drugs, drugs and more drugs. They made it hot for you if you didn’t conform. Well, so be it: time to find new friends.

9 comments on “‘The Health Tribunal’ (2017)

  1. If you think about it, people make wagers, with their lives. If you join some trendy church and live a nuanced lifestyle to conform to that social norms of that church, you are, in effect, wagering that they are right, and that whatever sacrifices they demand will pay off, at some future point. Of course, promises made by some charismatic leader have a way of not playing out, so, unfortunately, there are a lot of victims, whom place a bet, and lost. This is the sad reality of the effect of cults, which are basically an alternative culture, many of which insist that their members leave the mainstream of society, and these members tend to suffer negative consequences for these choices.

    But, such people will frequently defend their cult affiliations vehemently, and the reason they do, is something I find illuminating. Suppose that you woke up this morning, and decided that this was your lucky day, and you gambled your entire retirement fund on the outcome of a future event. In order to have done this, you would have had to be convinced that it was a sure bet, and if someone pointed out that it wasn’t actually a sure bet, there would be a strong psychological need to discredit such criticism. The alternative would require admitting to yourself that you had taken a great risk, and that you could end up losing.

    Every decision we make is, to some extent, a gamble. If I go t9 the store, I am exposing myself to some minor risks, such as a vehicle breakdown, an accident blocking the road and keeping me from getting home, being trapped inside, while some catastrophe befalls the store. But these risks tend to be remote possibilities, so I exercise reasonable prudence, but visit the store with reasonable confidence that the trip will be successful.

    But if the decision is more risky, a person may want reassurance that their choice will payoff, in the positive. Smoking pot, back when I was a young person, tended to be a practice that separated one from the mainstream of society, and it held a degree of risk, if for no other reason than it could get you into trouble with the law. So, when a group of people choose to smoke pot are faced with one person that chooses differently, this disrupts the confirmation bias they seek. If you’ve wagered your future on a poor decision, this is not acceptable, so the only option is to discredit the outlier.

    IMHO, this illustrates a great deal about social dynamics. Social groupings form around some common bond. Perhaps it’s simply geographical; we benefit from being friendly with our neighbors, for example. Workplaces and schools are other places where social groupings are formed. In these settings, we tend to form our social groupings on some common interest.

    For example, I tend to gravitate to other musicians, in almost any setting, because of shared interest. A common interest in baseball, running, or pot smoking would probably be the nuclei of social groupings, but obviously, if you don’t check off all three boxes, this group is not going to accept you.

    Interestingly, I’ve dealt with something very similar. I’m pretty serious about my music, used to play professionally, and have been around musicians, all of my life. However, because I have never smoked pot, I have always been somewhat socially in the margins. Pot use was extremely popular among musicians when I was most active in the business, and the resentment I experienced was palpable, at times. That’s fine, because I don’t really care about gaining the approval of people that would insist that I participate in an unhealthy practice, in order to be accepted.

    As a post script: Many of the people I knew, eventually grew out of it, and quite using drugs. Others curtailed their usage significantly. One particular fellow stuck with it, and both his health and his finances ended up negatively affected. It’s tragic to see a man of retirement age, who has not accomplished much of anything in life, while his peers went on to succeed and to accomplish so much more.

    1. Most of my pot-smoking friends wound up fairly successful in life, although one of them–my first friend–wound up dead from drug abuse. I’ve lost touch with them, so I don’t know if they outgrew the habit. There’s just one we still hear from now and then.

      It wasn’t that I ever considered pot a serious threat to my health. I just didn’t like it. It struck me, always, as a profoundly silly habit. And all the nagging just made me dig in my heels against ever doing it.

    2. To me, the serious threat is probably to one’s productivity. I realize that not everyone that uses pot uses it to the point that it interferes with their lives, but the pot smokers I’ve observed seem to lose some of their ambition. I see it as a slippery slope.

  2. Many called weed, then lately they just call it dope – in fact, dope has become a word that means great. I saw a lady in the grocery store wearing a shirt that said, “God is dope.”

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