Sun or Shade?
Do you know where the saying “drink the Kool-Aid” comes from? I don’t want to make any assumptions, but I’m pretty sure we all know what it means. However, I for one, had no clue where it came from. In fact, as embarrassing as this is to admit, I thought the saying was coined because Kool-Aid is a sweet, sugary beverage that tastes good, but is terrible for you. However, the phrase comes from so much more.
The story is quite horrific.
The saying “drinking the Kool-Aid” refers to a “delusional, pseudo-guru” named Jim Jones. Rev. Jones had a very large following in California called the Peoples Temple of the Disciples of Christ. At first, Jim’s charismatic nature helped him fly under the radar. But when the government and media became outwardly concerned, Rev. Jones fled the country with a large portion of his followers to a farm compound in Guyana.
US Congressman Leo Ryan feared that American citizens were being mistreated by Rev. Jones and decided to check on them. Members of Rev, Jones’ congregation took offense at the inquiry and subsequently took aim at the congressman’s plane. The Congressman and several civilians were killed.
Rev. Jones knew there would be dire consequences for his acts of retaliation. Instead of facing these consequences, Jim chose to lace gallons upon gallons of grape juice with lethal cyanide. Over 900 people, including 304 children, killed themselves, following a man they believed to have all the answers.
This is a true story. And now, when I hear someone say “they drink the Kool-Aid” the meaning might be the same, but the impact is so much more.
I’ve never been one to embrace extremes in opinion or behavior. Whether it be in religion, politics, or ideology, I tend to see the good, the bad, and the ugly. We all have our own personal good, bad and ugly. So I question why we fail to apply the that same discerning thought process to all aspects of our lives. Yes, it takes more mental energy to fully engage our brains. But considering the potential consequence of blindly swallowing what’s fed to you, I think it’s worth it.