I remember learning as a schoolboy about the powerful civilization of the Qing dynasty that crumbled under the weight of a pervasive opium addiction. For some reason, that piece of history always stayed with me as it seemed so improbable that an entire nation of adults could all travel such a treacherous path in complete unison, without changing course, until inevitably reaching their tragic and ruinous destination.
These thoughts come back to me when I take my children to school each morning and note that very near 100% of the parents accompanying their children to school are carrying with them large travel-mugs filled (presumably) with coffee. Each of the many teachers I see, already on duty supervising the students on campus, also carries a mug with them on the job. So does the crossing guard. And the traffic monitor. And the principal.
After lunch, when I too indulge in the caffeine habit, I am always struck by the high number of very young people (teens) also buying coffee while I am there. Vast containers of coffee. It is actually quite alarming to see the habit taking hold so forcefully at such a young age.
I suppose caffeine is not so destructive as opium but the historical parallel is interesting. Just a little something to ponder over your next cup of Jo.