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The World's Favorite Drug - Coffee

In January of 1995, there was a letter written to UTNE magazine with regards to a coffee article that they had published in their paper the previous month.

" Your "Coffee madness" issue (Nov/ Dec 94) failed to live up to its promise of identifying "what our obsession with the almighty bean really means." To understand the popularity of caffeine as a drug, we should first look at how it affects people. All of caffeine's symptoms closely reflect the body's physical response to fear: increased pulse, heart rate, blood pressure, sensory acuity, muscle contractions, alertness and so on. The reason our society would find this pattern of symptoms desirable instead of pathological or just plain pathetic is that our society has enshrined fear- producing competition as the Giver of all Good Things. The " edge (and the edginess) of the highly competitive Caffeine Achiever is the edge of fear.

Competitive societies live in fear. Making the grade, the cut, the deadline, the income, the first impression, the great new sensation…it's all just fear- driven insanity. And now we are being told that "global competitiveness" is going to bring us the good life. It's a sick joke. We are exporting fear under the cloak of competitiveness in the trade wars of the developed world, and this is worse in its cultural impact that the fear we have exported with our terrifying missiles and warplanes.

Coffee works for America because as a people, we paint our portrait on a canvas of fear. We deny it, sure. We refuse to listen to the message of fatigue the body sends us as a result of living under the nearly continuous assault of what we call stress. In fact, stress is our culture's secret synonym for fear. Caffeine is the little dose of fear with which we inoculate ourselves against the monstrous terror of what we are doing to ourselves. That's the real coffee madness."

Clifford Scholz, Royal Oak, MI

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Wisdom from the Ages

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