Wednesday, June 15, 2011

National Addiction: The Good vs. The Bad

Would it surprise you if someone declared that some addictions are good for you?

By extrapolation would it surprise you if someone declared that some addictions are good for the entire nation?

And in the inverse, isn't it more usual to consider an addiction to be bad for you, bad for the entire nation?

I guess then, we have to learn to decide what addiction is, whether good or bad, and even decide whether any particular addiction is good or is bad.

Setting aside for a moment absolutism, in general will we find that one person's good is another person's bad?

Let's look at some opinion on the subject:
Not all addictions are considered bad and some can actually help you with your everyday life. Other addictions which are more common as a bad habit will hinder your everyday life and your performance. Let’s discuss the good addictions first so that we can discuss the bad ones later. Certain things you do in your life whether it’s a religious belief or your eagerness to work to improve your lifestyle can be considered a good addiction. Both you and everyone else around you stand to benefit from these types of addictions. Though going overboard can be stressful, with the right attitude, you stand to improve yourself. Good addictions will lead you to success and live a healthy life. We rarely speak of the good addictions as they are nearly not as interesting as the bad ones.
(American Outreach, emphasis added). That site maintains that religious addiction and eagerness to improve lifestyle addiction are "good addictions" because they lead you to success and a healthy life.

Atheists, such as Bill Maher, would agree that religion is an addiction, but would be less likely to say it is good, so let's look further:
We are all addicted to something. For some it is emotions ... or even the way we think on a day to day basis. In other words we become addicted to our beliefs too ... So since we all have addictions why not chose ones that empower us? One of my addictions in life is the martial arts. Because martial arts training and teaching is a MIND/BODY collaboration ...
(Art Mason). Now we have an indication that there can be emotional addiction, the way we think (cognitive) addiction, and even martial arts addiction.

One more before we go to the dictionary world:
Ideally, you will want to decide ahead of time what behavior you will use to replace your addiction, and ensure it is both healthy and controlled. Here, we’ve done some of the work for you, and detailed 10 common unhealthy addictive behaviors along with examples of healthy replacement “addictions” …
(Six Wise). These examples above show that what is a good addiction vs. what is a bad addiction is subject to pop opinion such that almost any addiction can be good or bad, depending on one's viewpoint.

We could all probably agree that murder addiction leading to mass murder is a bad addiction, could we not?

But even that would not be absolute in the sense that war is not only an addiction (wars we can't seem to stop), it involves mass killing and "murder" of innocents (think of Hiroshima, Nagasaki where hundreds of thousands innocent women and children were burned alive or maimed for a lifetime).

So let's get into the dictionary world to look at several sources concerning the word "addiction":
Synonyms inclination obsession craving bent hook

ad·dic·tion [uh-dik-shuhn] –noun

the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming ... to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma.

Related Words ... dependence, dependency, habituation

World English Dictionary

addiction (əˈdɪkʃən) — n

the condition of being abnormally dependent on some habit ...
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © Harper Collins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009

addiction c.1600,

of habits, pursuits, etc., from L. addictionem (nom. addictio ) "an awarding, a devoting," noun of action from addicere (see addict). Earliest sense was less severe: "inclination, penchant," but this has become obsolete. In main modern sense it is first attested 1906, in ref. to opium (there is an isolated instance from 1779, with ref. to tobacco).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

ad·dic·tion Pronunciation: /ə-ˈdik-shən/ Function: n:

compulsive physiological need for and use of a habit-forming substance ... characterized by tolerance and by well-defined physiological symptoms upon withdrawal

broadly : persistent compulsive use of a substance known by the user to be physically, psychologically, or socially harmful

Merriam-Webster's Medical Dictionary, © 2007 Merriam-Webster, Inc.

addiction ad·dic·tion (ə-dĭk'shən) n.

Habitual psychological and physiological dependence on a substance or practice beyond one's voluntary control.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

addiction (ə-dĭk'shən)

A physical or psychological need for a habit-forming substance ... A habitual or compulsive involvement in an activity, such as gambling.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.

Pronunciation: &-'dik-sh&n
Function: noun:

compulsive physiological need for a habit-forming drug (as heroin)

Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law, © 1996 Merriam-Webster, Inc.
( Putting it all together, referring the Dredd Blog post Glorious Addictions - War & Oil - 2, we agree that President Bush II had a valid point when he said, in a state of the union address, that the USA (& civilization in general) is addicted to oil (hydrocarbons: oil, coal, natural gas).

The only remaining question, then, would be whether or not that addiction is good or bad.

If the addiction ends with ecocide (i.e. mass destruction of the environment and civilization along with it, where billions die) that would make it a bad addiction would it not?

Then why are these things now virtual religions?

1 comment:

  1. Scientific study of data going back to circa 1860, concerning the birth of calves in British cattle herds, shows that global warming causes an increase in deaths to newborns. Scientific American