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Patanjali Sokaris

Pondering the universe

Addiction

Much is made of the unsanctioned addictions, like that to drugs, but the economy is heavily dependent upon people unquestioningly wanting the new and self-indulgent, also making them addictions.

Distraction to avoidance ^

A person who is in control of their life, mind and emotions will deal with situations as they arise, getting help as they require, and persevere until the situation is handled.

Well, that is the ideal. However, most of us don't necessarilly know how to handle all situations we face, so we may procrastinate while we try to find out how we will. In the meantime, we may occupy ourselves with something else to do.

If we were on the ball, that something else will be really worthwhile, but mostly we find a distraction, and in today's world, we have plenty of those pushed upon us.

Problems start occurring when the distraction starts becoming more important than dealing with the necessities of life. That is moving into avoidance.

Such problems are compounded when there are a plethora of distractions being advertised to us, with the hope that we will want to continue using them. A person has to be really strong not to be caught up in the hype, at least for a time.

We are now flooded with distractions, though many were seen as really useful when we first started with them. For example, mobile phones were originally pretty basic, so their usefulness was well defined, but once they started including digital assistant functionality, and more with an internet connection, they became extremely useful, to the point that we cannot see ourselves without them.

The addiction comes in when we want to use them even when we don't need to, such as when we are out with friends, but all are playing with their phones. Games and apps further bury our brains in living irrelevancies.

Chemicals! ^

The worst addictions are those which modify our body functions so much that we have discomfort, or even pain, without them. Chemical substances will do that.

Some chemicals that are commonly addicted to are:

  1. a.Coffee.
  2. b.Tobacco.
  3. c.Opiates.
  4. d.Prescription drugs.

Most of these are indulged in to for some particular purpose, but the effect they have on the mind or body becomes preferable to being without them. It's worse when they change the body so much that pain results without them.

Society is to blame ^

Each society has addictions that they punish, but they also have many they encourage, even if they create problems.

Some tolerated substances were used in formal or informal rituals at the dawn of a society, as a way of bringing everyone together. If the substance has addictive properties, or damages tissues, many may have difficulties handling it.

That may result in them being ostracised, which may send them further into addiction, or even find another substance to use to escape their life's circumstances.

However, problems occur when the concensus of a society is to favour some addictions because they add to the economy, and disfavour others for the same reasons. An example is when alcohol is promoted, while its substantial damage is tolerated, but millions is spent, with many companies benefitting, upon banning other drugs, some of which don't have the same damaging effects, and prosecuting the people who use them. This is a habitual reliance upon the economics of the addictions.

The worst is the general tolerance of tobacco, despite it being a proven health hazard. Tobacco was given out to troops in World War I because it calmed them down. Then it became very big business, resulting in a lot of addiction and consequent health expenditure. That it is a mass calmitive must be worth the downside, perhaps because authorities don't know how they would handle the mass anger that would be exposed by banning tobacco.

But is tolerating mass addictions, because the underlying causes seem too hard to deal with, the right path? Perhaps there are huge benefits to society if we do tackle them, just as there is for individuals.

Fake needs ^

Addiction is about fulfilling a sense of need, but what are needs?

We may fall into addiction because circumstances in our lives felt so overwhelming that we needed to find an escape, or indulgence just made us feel better. Whichever way, these came about because we made a series of decisions that propelled us towards that path.

However, many try to manipulate us into choosing a path that benefits them. They do this by understanding the process by which we make those decisions, and using those against us, by trying to persuade us that we need what they offer. After all, letting us think it is optional allows us to reject them. Instilling a sense of need is their goal, as that is what keeps us coming back for more, even if there are better alternatives.

It is not like they are twisting our arms, but the contant barrage of appealing images and words swamps out a lot of our rational thought, and unless we take the time to deprogram ourselves, we will fall prey to their spell.

Therefore, we must periodically make time in our lives to have some space to ascertain whether our recent decisions are really in our best interests, or just reflections of how much we have allowed others to set our thinking agenda.

We have the freedom to choose, but we don't always have to take the limited options others present to us. We can choose our own path, one that isn't so dependent upon others.


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