In 1844 Karl Marx said that “Religion is the opium of the people,” and seemed to suggest that its abolition would bring true happiness.
His statement is often phrased in English as “Religion is the opiate of the masses,” implying that it is meant somehow for the common people, the lower and middle classes.
I don’t believe that this idea ever was true, at least not in the sense of true religion, but I do think that societies seem to find their own “opiates,” illusory dreams that hide us from reality, keeping us from true happiness.
Given our culture in the U.S. today (and in much of the West), I think it is probably more true to say:
Sex is the Opiate of the Masses.
Of course, I don’ meant that all sex should be abolished, or even that we should never think of sex. I do think that most of the focus on sex in our culture today is not healthy — leading to all sorts of undesireable side-effects. If nothing else, as it is portrayed in popular culture, it is certainly an illusion, something that distracts from things that are much more important.
You may disagree. [I could almost be persuaded that ‘fame’ is the new “opiate of the masses.] If you do disagree, please comment and let me know, and tell me what you think should be the new “opiate of the masses.”
If you agree with me, I think “Sex is the Opiate of the Masses” makes a great signature line, or bumper sticker, don’t you?