Soundings

A new synthetic opiate?

BMJ 1996; 313 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.313.7056.564a (Published 31 August 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;313:564
  1. Liam Farrell

    Karl Marx described it as the opium of the masses, the belief that if you behaved yourself, better times would lie ahead in the next life. It fulfilled all sorts of useful functions: it gave lives of hopelessness and squalor some meaning, it soothed our existentialist fears, it filled the coffers of the prevailing religions, and it kept the peasants nicely docile and the autocrats accordingly happy.

    We've moved on since then, of course, to an age of healthy scepticism in which we can confront our dread of non-being, look death square in the face, and spit right in his eye. …

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