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hung up

addiction used to refer only a a physical dependence on some substance, often caused by morbid overindulgence in a type of vice (often tolerated in limited measure, but held in suspicion), legal or illegal. in my lifetime, the definition has expanded to include various other sorts of behaviour compulsions, often with no physical link- gambling, shopping and even sex all have their addicts.

the most widely accepted method of treating these disorders has become so-called "step" programs, which guide the addict through a series of milestones until they are deemed to have regained sufficient control of their life. (although it's not strictly related, i'd like to add that i've always been skeptical about these sorts of programs, predicated as they are on convincing the addict that he or she has lost fundamental control of their life on a permanent basis, and must adhere to a set of restrictions in order to survive- essentially replacing one type of powerlessness with another.)

this subject came to mind because of an article i was reading yesterday on internet/ email addiction. i'm sure that the statistics in canada- long among the largest users of new technology- and the united states would be roughly the same. while i'm not sure that the article's reliance on personal testimony as to whether or not respondents for email "necessary" to their lives constitutes a scientific basis for the poll (i consider my refrigerator necessary, but i don't believe i'm addicted to it), but i'm willing to say for the moment that it does constitute one more activity that people engage in compulsively. doubtless some of us will be going into group therapy in the near future to share the trauma of our tendonitis from too much typing, receiving group hugs as congratulations for going a week without facebook or my space (don't ask... my record is not good.)

but with virtually everything that can bring even a small amount of pleasure seemingly susceptible to the forming of addiction, i'm forced wonder whether or not the problem is really with the addictions. after all, one of the hallmarks of any addiction is that it represents an advanced sort of escapism. the one thing that they all have in common is that they allow the addict a portal from their everyday life. curing or containing addiction is a laudable enough goal, but at some point, shouldn't we start asking why such a larger number- a majority, it would seem- are so eager to escape?

Comments

David said…
We had a recent discussion about this... remember mentioning the whole, "Click the button - no mail/ reward. Click it again - get *NEW MESSAGE*/ REWARD" analogy?

New mail triggers that "OOHHH - new thing YAY" mechanism.
flora_mundi said…
yes, i remember...

as it turns out, seeing that you have new blog comments triggers the same response.
David said…
..MUST check feeds obsessively...
David said…
I'm not immune - I have close to... um... 100 feeds... that I check during the day. Some are work related, some are not (like yours here - I'm a subscriber) but I check them 4 times a day, at scheduled times.

I look forward to yours, and get all excited-like when I see you have something new.
martman said…
http://gamblinganon.blogspot.com Free help with your gambling addiction

as long as you're here, why not read more?

the world at war?

in my semi-smug but genuinely curious way, i posted a question on my facebook page earlier: how much of the world has to be at war before it counts as world war iii?



the first response i got raised the very legitimate point that this is the sort of question that gets answered by historians, once the haze of the present has faded. the other important factor is that people don't just declare war on each other the way that they used to. major powers entered both the of the world wars with the blessings of their own parliaments, whereas conflicts since world war ii have happened in coded language, sometimes circumventing the political process in the interests of expediency. president reagan never declared war on the nicaraguan government in the eighties, for example, but the united states was clearly in a state of armed conflict, even if most of the arms were being carried by their proxies, the contras.

whether or not we are living in a world at war is a tricky question. despite what…

jihadvertising?

i keep seeing this ad for tictac candies:



am i the only one who finds the suicide bomber clown at the end a little unnerving? all the nice natural things like the bunny and the [extinct] woolly mammoth and the fruit get devoured by a trying-to-appear-nonthreatening-but-obviously-psychotic clown who then blows himself up. congratulations, tictac, i think this ad has landed you on about a dozen watch lists.

oh and by the way, showing me that your product will somehow cause my stomach to explode in a rainbow of wtf makes me believe that doing consuming tictacs would be a worse dietary decision than the time i ate two raw eggs and a half a bottle of hot sauce on a dare.

diet diary, part 2

so the battle with the bulge continues. i'm actually becoming used to the pace, although for some reason my stomach still seems to think it needs far more food than it actually does.

week days, when eating is more of a functional than a festive activity, are fairly easy to cope with. weekends are a challenge, especially living in a city that has as many good restaurants as toronto. i'm not restricting myself to the home, but i am finding that i have to pay careul attention when i go out. last night, i overindulged on injera atthe ethiopian house. injera (the soft, moist, spongy bread that serves as food and cutlery in ethiopian cuisine) makes food fun by forcing you to eat with your fingers. it's hard to exercise restraint in such conditions.

when i first moved to toronto, i was expecting to find it much as i remembered it from years ago- with a dearth of good eating places. apparently, things have changed. there are great places to eat just about every kind of food you&…