Does wine numb our consciousness?
6th October 2023
One of the great benefits of drinking a good glass of fine wine is the relaxing effect it has (for most of us). Of course, this only applies as long as you drink in reasonable moderation. But what really happens mentally when we use something like an alcoholic beverage? Does it impact our consciousness in a way that our consciousness is numb? To understand this well it requires obviously first of all a clear view of what is consciousness. Though …… since the start of humanity the view on this phenomenon, seen both from everyday reality and from a philosophical perspective, is a rather controversial one. But vinosophy wasn’t a useful philosophical approach if it hadn’t a clear perspective on this. So what is consciousness?
I am not my body, nor my mind, for they are mine.
When we look at a human we can indisputably say that he isn’t the physical body. First of all a body only grows from what we eat and drink and when we would miss a body part, for example, a leg, we don’t say we aren’t a person anymore, nor another person. We all agree that we are still who we were before it happened. But also from our language, it becomes clear we are not our body, as we are used to saying “my body”, so “I” have a body. But who is the “I”? The same accounts for our mind. We always speak about “my mind”, which means the I is not the mind, as I have a mind. But if so, who or what is that ‘me’ or the ‘I’? For myself, the true essence of man is his sense of being a witness – the subject – or in other words, his inner consciousness (so not the mind). An inner consciousness in which, for example, thoughts appear. A consciousness (the subject) that manifests itself in a body with the support of a brain and a mind (the thinking faculty of the brain).
We can not look ourselves in the eye
A special thing about consciousness is that it cannot experience itself, just as the fire cannot illuminate itself and we cannot look ourselves in the eye. At the same time, the fact that man feels a witness is the only absolutely certain thing he experiences and what is always with him. So although consciousness is not aware of itself, it is undeniably the reality in which everything presents itself. We can explain this phenomenon of presentation as the perception of a sensation. So there is an essential difference between consciousness and perception. Consciousness is the fundamental reality in which sensory-experienced projections appear. Signals from the senses create manifestations in consciousness. These manifestations are what we call perceptions. You could visualize a perception as a certain vibration in consciousness.
So consciousness is the true essence of a human, it is what we are: the subject or witness within.
Perception is the capacity of our brain to transform the impressions from our senses into thoughts and emotions. It is the capacity of our brain to notice something.
Consciousness is the true essence of a human
Now going back to the original question: Does wine numb our consciousness? If we understand what consciousness is and how perception works, we can easily answer this question.
Drinking wine means that our body takes up wine, which results in creating sensory signals that are sent to our brain. Subsequently, the brain creates a perception that is projected in our consciousness. But does this indeed numb our consciousness?
When we look closer to what is really happening we will get a clear answer. As wine and the alcohol in it are physical things, they can only come in contact with the bodily capacities that play a role in this process. More specifically, the alcohol itself can only influence the quality of the externally oriented sensory functions and the quality of the brain or thinking (internal) faculty. This means we can conclude that alcohol can only affect two things: firstly it can affect the results or quality of the signals we receive in our mind from our externally oriented senses. Secondly, it can affect the quality of the signals from our brains, so our thoughts and emotions. This means these signals, thoughts or emotions are weakened or maybe distorted, due to alcohol intake. But the consciousness in which these weakened and/or distorted signals are projected is still there in its original capacity as this is non-physical.
Being drunk is just a temporary technical disability
So being drunk only means that our sensory and thinking faculties create weakened or distorted perceptions in the unattached consciousness that we are. Being drunk is just a temporary technical disability.
Corné van Nijhuis
World’s first self-declared Vinosopher
Corné van Nijhuis
Longing for knowledge and wisdom about the nature of wine and the existential meaning associated with it, which makes him a self-declared vinosopher.