Monday Aphorism: Addiction

Living in a time when the use of drugs has been pushed by the curers of our illnesses, the question of what is an addiction looms large. Some substance, inhaled, injected, ingested to the roots of being, alters experience, perhaps outlook. Sometimes, often, always – some say – the alteration is bodily, real, the experience more desirable than what is usual and seems normal. Others worry less about the power of the drug, more about its use and application: alone; in company; what sense of tomorrow.

What sense of tomorrow?

But there is more. Habits, of body, of mind, of experience and its counter, also seem addicting beyond wish and desire: gambling, power, a sense of activity and action, of performing…athletic doings, jogging, playing musical instruments, writing…all of these may invade life and demand an increasing part of being. Power, some sense of greatness, of control over the world, over others, seems to grow quickest and deepest, finds its own sustenance within itself, addicting.

These all give fabric to life, shape to lives. They energize thought and action, frame hope and a sense of progress and tomorrow…

and tomorrow? The down-side of addiction: that we may not construe tomorrow, any next day, except within the sense of self which that drug or habit shapes. To do, not to do, no longer can be cleansed of the debris of the addiction. Like pain, which grows as it is opposed and made an enemy, addiction may control, possessing us in outlook, plans, and preparation.

Within addiction, freedom binds itself, no longer problematic.

  • April

    Thank you for posting this aphorism.

    Do you remember the ethanol billboards that popped up this summer? Just
    in time for the RNC? The most memorable one pictured a looming oil
    tanker afloat in some arctic austerity with the text OIL IS THE
    ALTERNATIVE TO ETHANOL.

    “The f’cking Corn Lobby!” I thought. “Someone oughta go up there with a
    can of spray paint and reply ETHANOL IS THE ALTERNATIVE TO SACRIFICE!”

    But *sigh* angry opposition does not become anyone…. nor
    anything. And sacrifice? Well, it’s a popular virtue, but not a
    salable ethic.

    Nor a self-sustaining one.

    At its best, it can only inspire the imaging that the touchable good
    life lay back in the easy energy, the money bubbles, the fevered drug
    fantasy.

    So, a positive alternative? The sweetness and light of? In the case of transportation alternatives perhaps it’s Critical Mass or, simply, more critical dialog. I don’t know, but I like your insistence that there are losses in addiction. Namely, the loss of everything, the future.

  • April

    Thank you for posting this aphorism.

    Do you remember the ethanol billboards that popped up this summer? Just
    in time for the RNC? The most memorable one pictured a looming oil
    tanker afloat in some arctic austerity with the text OIL IS THE
    ALTERNATIVE TO ETHANOL.

    “The f’cking Corn Lobby!” I thought. “Someone oughta go up there with a
    can of spray paint and reply ETHANOL IS THE ALTERNATIVE TO SACRIFICE!”

    But *sigh* angry opposition does not become anyone…. nor
    anything. And sacrifice? Well, it’s a popular virtue, but not a
    salable ethic.

    Nor a self-sustaining one.

    At its best, it can only inspire the imaging that the touchable good
    life lay back in the easy energy, the money bubbles, the fevered drug
    fantasy.

    So, a positive alternative? The sweetness and light of? In the case of transportation alternatives perhaps it’s Critical Mass or, simply, more critical dialog. I don’t know, but I like your insistence that there are losses in addiction. Namely, the loss of everything, the future.

  • Harvey

    April,
    Addiction is itself “addicting.” How to remain “present” – some senses of awareness of one’s being in whatever settings or contexts. My major struggle in teaching was to shift from trying to be a “great lecturer” – and, in a deep sense “losing” myself as I was increasingly on “autopilot.”
    Give up one’s notes for today’s class – try to “pay attention” not only to the students, but to oneself studying them, asking questions of them and myself, thinking about today but always with respect to imagining their tomorrows. And more.
    A study of one’s angers and loves in response to whatever is addicting, with some senses of everyone moving “beyond,” and seeking one’s “next places.”