The Pied Piper is a famous fairy tale mostly known in the Brothers Grimm version. Like many other fairy tales, he paints a fresco of human types, and perhaps unwittingly thinks about the mechanisms that regulate people’s destinies. The story is known but it is worth reporting it also for a lesser known detail. The city of Hamelin is infested with rats. The mayor, desperate, does not know what to do. A mysterious individual appears, armed with a flute, who proposes to the mayor to free the city from mice by using the music of his instrument, and agreeing on the remuneration for this. The mayor agrees, and indeed raises the fee. The piper manages to attract all the rats of the city around him, as if hypnotized by the music of the flute, and leads them to the river where they plunge and drown without resistance, pushed by the mysterious magic. When the piper presents himself to the mayor to collect, the latter denies him the fee and treats him sufficiently, since he has now received the consent of the people and no longer has an interest in honoring the debt. The piper threatens him with a dark revenge, but the mayor chases him badly. Thus comes the revenge of the piper, who with other notes repeats the magic but this time attracting the children of Hamelin around him. He leads them with him out of the city, on the back of the mountain, and then makes them disappear in an opening inside the mountain, from which they will never return, despite the mothers’ crying and the repentance of the swindler mayor. Hamelin will remain a city without children for a long time. Only one child is saved,
The atmosphere and the music of the piper, who by changing a few notes can become full of opportunities or risks. There are music that kill or mice, and music that kidnaps men. Most of them can’t resist, they are automatically kidnapped. Indeed, to better say the “normal” do not resist, to resist it takes not a handicap. The same handicap that prevents you from running and playing is the one that saves the limp from disappearing into the mountain. An example of this law is the predisposition to addictions: those who are immune to it usually have a deficient temperament, in the sense of depressive, or inhibited, while the more common temperaments, or the more lively, cheerful, exploratory ones, are predisposed to enter in contact with drugs, to bond with them and to lose control of them. This of course assuming that drugs, ie “music” is suitable, because there are always two factors: environment and individual. Narcotic drugs are able to make everyone lose control, if used for a certain time, no one can resist. To resist, it is necessary that the very mechanism of vivacity, pleasure and instinct are somehow crippled from the start, and therefore “turn” slowly. The slow-burning (depressive) individual or the humid (anxious) individual do not catch fire easily, and if they do, a fire does not break out. Another example is sexually transmitted infections. People with a depressive temperament are protected, people with a lively temperament exposed. The object, whether it is a drug or a virus, affects normalcy, and spares those who live little, or live by holding back. Another interesting metaphor, always applicable to drug and addiction problems, and this: what kidnaps mice then kidnaps men too. Men “regress” under the effect of that music, of the drug, and their brain responds in its most archaic, most animal, simplest and most powerful part, the instinctive one. In fact, drug addiction, at least in its objective mechanisms, reproduces itself in the human brain as in the animal one. Thinking that the piper’s music is beneficial is a mistake: and music that has a cost, must be paid for. If he refuses to pay it, or if you don’t have the money, the music will change. So it happens with the debt of freedom and pleasure that those who use certain drugs end up contracting: they will repay it in addiction and inability to experience satisfying pleasure. Honey and poison are just two shades of taste, or two layers of dessert: thus, it is wrong to think that you can invest in drugs without paying out of your own pocket, both when you think of increasing your potential, and when you think of keeping an unwelcome aspect of your personality or a situation at bay of pain. It works, like debt works. The wrong way to take drugs comes from the right one, they are not two separate ways, they are two stages.
It is therefore unthinkable to set up the prevention of problems such as drugs by relying on normal personalities, because they are still at risk. The productive potential cannot be separated from the destructive potential of vitality only by believing that they are two separate ways. You cannot think that drugs are free, but by taking drugs “in the right way”, it is the solution that separates the good drug from the bad drug. The only protective factor, in terms of mental constitution, from drug use and therefore from addictions, are depression and anxious inhibition, which are things that individuals do not want, do not appreciate and try to remove if they can.
Hamelin’s limp and therefore the symbol of how only an accident, or an unwanted diversity, often protects against bad fates. It should give rise to caution in everyone with respect to destinies that cannot always be controlled at every stage, and over which the force of will does not dominate but the genes and the environment, with its forces stronger than us. It should also give rise to empathy for those who fall ill with diseases in which they are “hunted” for a mixture of curiosity, vivacity and underestimation of risk, that is the normalcy of the human being exposed to an environment in which there are seductions and dangers . It should also make it clear that the “enemy” of the drug problem is not the brains with their genes, certainly not the diseases that now exist and must be treated, but if ever the pipers are easily accepted,
(This, in a fairytale version, is the synthesis of knowledge on personality, temperament and use of substances (and other related risks). For those wishing to learn more, the articles are listed in the publications in the curriculum on www.psichiatriaedipendenze.it or in the links and materials section ).

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