Thursday, January 10, 2013

We’re all addicted to something, aren’t we?

The easy ones to pick out are the ones that facilitate some additional dysfunction that has been identified by society.  Alcohol and narcotics abuse are the big two in this category.

Others are harder to put your finger on.  Food, sex, money, power.  You can mask being egomaniacal to your friends a lot easier than you can mask being stoned at work, for example.

The subtlest are the ones that are most common.  We are addicted to being safe or loved.  We crave and can’t live without hearing that we’re pretty/handsome or smart/creative or fast/strong or generally superior.

So by its pervasivness, being addicted to something is completely “normal”, the societal concern isn’t necessarily the addiction itself, but rather its affects. For example, it is in society’s best interest to curb things like chronic excessive alcohol consumption because the affect of such addictions is often unexpected, unpredictable or unpleasant results and behavior.  Some addictions are almost guaranteed to cause unpleasant results.  Nicotine addiction, for example is conjoined with cancer and other ill-health.

As is nearly uniformly the case, what is in society’s best interest is in conflict with what is in our individual best interests.  Collective efforts to empower individual wholeheartedness would be far preferable to the current model, which is to react to addictions on an individual basis and then deploy the fastest possible deterrent/cure to insulate ourselves from unpredictable or unpleasant results.

I wonder if that is even possible.  Do we actually infuse each other and ourselves with the self-doubt that fuels the addictions, or are we hard-wired to feel these cravings?  It’s the nature or nurture question in reverse, I guess.

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