"The promise of paradise is not enough. The mystic will not wait until he is cold in his grave to be with God. He wants to be with God in this life. He wants the immediate experience of the sacred. He is thirstier than other men."
A very interesting article about the presence of wine in mysticism using both Islam and Christianity as the main belief systems. Especially note the section where the liver is compared to the eye. It is described as the inner eye providing vision for our dreams and true reality; while the real eye is is our outer eye, providing vision for this illusion of a world. It further goes to indicate the tendency of Islamic culture to portray alcohol as a vile drink of those who are wayward and misguided. Yet many mystics used it in their pathway to enlightenment, they derive from the Quranic revelation regarding the rivers of wine flowing in Paradise to mean that those who are nearest to God are given this pure wine to drink from. Their indulgence in the drunkenness of alcohol is not to enjoy the taste of the drink but to quench the thirst they feel for the love and remembrance of God.
Ironically, in Christian culture, alcohol is widely accepted and only the mystics abstain from it as they say they will not drink wine until they drink it in the Kingdom of God.
Both of these mainstream monotheistic beliefs are in agreement with the fact that there will be wine in the paradise of God..it's just a matter of how it should be dealt with in this life.
I think the point is that the masses aren't ready for it. The masses see alcohol for all its worldly luxury, IE: getting wasted, forgetting about the woes of this life, doing sexual or other mischievous deeds that will be well forgotten by the morning. Exactly how us humans use our dreams on a regular basis, as a means to escape our reality for 7 to 8 hours of the night, to be lost in the world of the subconscious before we must return again. But, the masses aren't able to utilize it for what it's worth, because too much of any thing can turn into a bad things..... and in the case of alcohol, even a little of it may be too much for a person to handle when they aren't ready for it. Same goes for all things that give you an altered state of mind. They place you at the threshold of a world unimaginable. Most of us would not know how to behave or contain ourselves upon reaching that point. The mystic wants nothing more than to lose himself there and perhaps would have difficulty ever returning back into this realm of reality because after seeing true reality who ever would want to return to illusion? The test of a believer is to be aware of that place, of that reality, of the methods used to enter there, yet also to have an awareness that everything is meant for a reason and behave according to that understanding. We must not lose ourselves..no matter how deeply we may want to leave behind the 'truth' of this world we know, it is just as essential to our being as the unseen is. A true mystic, the one who is blessed enough to handle it; for him the pleasure of those short trips, occasional visits to the unseen are so divine..
Our dreams, this wine, all sorts of mind altering substances...they all take you there..but they are just means...just the mode of transportation....if you can't handle the journey, and especially not the destination, then you have no business getting on this ride.