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Based on behaviors (which is what my work is all about), the actions described increase the odds of alcoholism. The question, however, of "how" alcoholics touch, affect and influence others in ways the rest of us are unable is addressed in the top story in my winter '07-08 client newsletter, at http://www.dougthorburn.com/newsletters/31-ThorburnWinter07-08.pdf. I think you will find it most interesting.

It's interesting speculation. I've felt for years that addiction issues are about misguided spirituality anyway.

On the other hand, that may just be rationalization on my part. As I mentioned to a friend yesterday: I may be a mystic, but I'm not a very good one, so I believe in assistance in altering consciousness.

;)

Michael H: Didn't someone whose birthday is around about this time, turn water into wine (and not the other way round)? Perhaps he shared your belief ;)

My step-mother was a drunk and she was mean as a snake. She drank straight Jim Beam Whiskey. She used to say really mean stuff to us kids like "you're fat and ugly!." I was glad when she finally died.

I'm familiar with a number of "Shakespeare's plays were really written by so-and-so" theories as well as channelled information suggesting the plays were collaborations that even included an Elizabethan variation of channelling.

Some of the earlier theories, suggesting no Shakespeare existed or that there was such a man, but one with only an extremely rudimentary education, have been successfully challenged with the discovery of various scraps of evidence, while the early days of Elizabethan acting and how the troupes of actors and writers interacted have been increasingly illuminated by continuing research.

Some of the theories become entangled with Elizabeth's secret service and the Catholic/Protestant espionage-related activities of the time, as for example the discovery that Christopher Marlowe was in the pay of Elizabeth's spymaster.

William Shakespeare definitely existed, but whether he was the sole author, the front man for collaborative efforts he participated in -- whether as "boss," partner, or underling -- or fronting for a patron or someone else is still an open question.

As to creative output and alcoholism, I'd point to the example of Vivian Stanshall, front man for the Bonzo Dog Doodah Band. (See http://gingergeezer.net/ .)

A related and unexamined topic involves the inner connections between players in Elizabethan society, the era of Her Majesty a high point in the flowering of creativity and, it can be said, human consciousness, and that situation we've been discussing elsewhere regarding the events of the Roman province of Judea in the 1st Century and what resulted from them.

Both times and situations included unusually high "psychic energy" levels and also certain representatives of some of the very same souls or entities.

Both times are associated with the present time, in the same way.

Of course all times and places connect to other times in this way, that is, groups of aspects or representatives of the same souls can be found spread throughout all of human history, creating endless inner connections between times.

Still, some of the patterns are especially interesting, particularly regarding this instance, where dramatic productions reference contemporary personalities and events masked within the context of previous eras, while actors and the dramas they participated in also mirror actual events akin to acting and drama, such as the Christ drama, quite the influential production.

"All the world's a stage, And all the men and women merely players..."

("And if they should reply, then give them all the lie...")

Bill I.

Some of the earlier theories, suggesting no Shakespeare existed or that there was such a man, but one with only an extremely rudimentary education, have been successfully challenged with the discovery of various scraps of evidence

I agree that the Stratford man unquestionably existed. His life is reasonably well documented. There are records of his lawsuits and business transactions, and his will survives, as does his burial monument. He fathered three children, two of whom lived into adulthood; the lives of these two (both girls) have also been documented. And a historian who visited Stratford some years after Will's death was able to gather many anecdotes about him.

All of this has led "Stratfordians" (those who think Will wrote the plays) to assert that the Stratford man's authorship is well established. The trouble is, none of the documentary evidence shows that Will was a writer. He was unquestionably involved in the theater as a businessman and sometime actor, and quite possibly as a play broker (a kind of agent), but there are no literary records left to show him in the capacity of a writer - no letters, no diary, no manuscripts, no indication even that he owned any books (none are mentioned in his will). Other Elizabethan and Jacobean playwrights did leave such records. Worse, the few instances of Will's signature that have survived look like the crude, uncertain scrawl of a near-illiterate; it appears that he wrote his name one letter at a time, lifting his pen between letters, and often tiring before he reached the end.

I do think it's likely that Will had an "extremely rudimentary education," provided by just a few short years at the Stratford grammar school. He would have learned to read, but he may have mastered only the basics of writing.

The best summary of all this evidence is Shakespeare's Unorthodox Biography, by Diana Price. Unfortunately the book is quite expensive.

I find all this popular "alcoholism" as explanation - exemplified by Thorburn - to be so much bunk.

When heavy drinkers exhibit certain behaviors, these are all too easily blamed on "alcoholim". When light drinkers - or even non-drinkers - exhibit the same behaviors, then we have latent "alcoholism" or "alcoholic personality" that hasn't yet manifested in large volume consumption of alcohol containg beverages (or use of other substances).

Alcoholism becomes a catch all diagnosis or syndrome to catagorize and explain away poeple who do things that the diagnostician thinks he/she doesn't do and doesn't like. It is a circular short cut to real thinking and understanding.

Of course some creative people drink. Creativity requires a degree of living on the edge. Drinking and/or other substances can help one get to the edge and then can help take the edge off.

As for the unpleasant personality traits and the traits impact on others that a Thornburn blames on alcoholism, I submit that these are probably equally distributed among drinkers and non-drinkers, but this is where the circular logic of "dry alcoholic"/"alcoholic personality" comes into play.

Was Shakespeare a drinker? Probably.......and Cheers, Will!

How dull would the world be if Thorburn was right and he cured everyone?

Michael: "I do think it's likely that Will had an "extremely rudimentary education," provided by just a few short years at the Stratford grammar school. He would have learned to read, but he may have mastered only the basics of writing."

I don't claim to know what the truth is here, but note that innate brilliance and education aren't connected and never have been; it wouldn't surprise me at all if Shakespeare was mostly self-taught.

Meanwhile, on the related topic of alcholism, creativity, and substance abuse in general, I can't but think of Syd Barrett.

A neighbor recently moved out and, before discarding two boxes stuffed with old VCR tapes, asked me if I wanted them. I assented, somewhat reluctantly (I already have far too much junk) but didn't get around to inspecting them until yesterday.

These contained a large collection of old Boris Karloff and Bella Lugosi flicks and a second even larger collection of obscure Japanese Samurai flicks, with one exception.

I managed to find a place to stash the horror flicks (who knows? I may actually watch them someday) but consigned the sword epics to the dumpster.

The sole remaining tape was edited from film shot in London in 1966 and 1967 at the UFO club, a "14 Hour Technicolour Dream Extravaganza" at Alexandra Palace, and a recording studio.

It featured Pink Floyd, the soundtrack consisting of two instrumentals.

As I listened and watched, I pondered the life of Syd Barrett, something I recently became familiar with as I continue to investigate bands and musicians I'd somehow missed the first time around, including Pink Floyd.

He died in 2006, separating from the band in the 60s owing to the pressures of touring and after taking far too much LSD, becoming a reclusive gardener and painter until his death.

Anyway, while watching and listening and pondering Syd's life, I noticed how a pendulum that hangs from a small retail display unit on my desk began to act up in a big way, all by itself, swinging back and forth. This stopped when the video was over.

One of these days a visitor gifted at the ouija board or at autotyping will visit, and I'll have a chance to ask Syd: "What's happening, man?"

Bill I.

Excellent post. You may want to check out my narrative poem on the authorship question entitled "The Man Who Wrote Shakespeare" at http://www.empirecontact.com/narrative/devere.html

Michael,

There is a book named "Shakespeare, In Fact" that argues against the Oxfordian case. Have you read it, and if so, what's your opinion?

Here's a review of the book:
http://shakespeareauthorship.com/pen.html

I'm afraid I haven't read Shakespeare, In Fact, though I have read other books, articles and Web sites that argue for the Stratfordian position.

The most convincing case for Stratfordianism that I've seen is Clare Asquith's book Shadowplay. The book actually is not aimed at combating anti-Stratfordians, but in the course of her argument Asquith ends up making a good case for the way in which a young man from Stratford could have become privy to the secrets and designs of the inner circle of Elizabethan aristocracy.

Eric Sams and E.A.J. Honigmann have also come up with scenarios that might explain young Will's rapid rise from obscure Warwickshire beginnings to literary immortality.

Still, I find the parallels between Oxford's life and the content of Shakespeare's plays to be uncannily close. If Shakespeare wasn't Oxford, he should have been!

Here's a review of the same book from an Oxfordian perspective:

http://www.shakespeare-oxford.com/?p=127

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