A certain chief executive (2019) in the Global Village has proven beyond refutation that the “tweeterverse” is addictive. And yet, even our professionals who are supposed to have figured such things out are still arguing about the validity of behavioral addictions as opposed to substance addictions. “In recent decades, some psychiatrists and counselors have even specialized in their treatment. But the idea that someone can be addicted to a behavior, as opposed to a substance, remains contentious.” (1)
A definition of addiction itself may help focus our analysis. It is a compulsive engagement in a rewarding experience with serious negative mental and physical health repercussions. In the context of Simple Reality we see addiction as a “reaction” or resistance to events and people in one’s life rather than an acceptance or “response” to whatever is happening. The problem of addiction stems from the worldview (beliefs, attitudes and values), the behavioral conditioning of the person who seeks distraction from the fear of living in a threatening and dysfunctional self-destructive community.
Derek Heim, an addiction psychologist at Edge Hill in England agrees that it is not only a problem of chemistry or brain dysfunction. “People get very excited when they see pictures of the brain, but we’ve overextended that explanation.” (1) We are all immersed in a narrative that uses coping activities that are themselves life-threatening. “Video-game addiction perfectly exemplifies this multiplicity. It’s not just a biological phenomenon—it’s a cultural one too.” (1)
It is bad enough that most of us are dealing with the fear, both conscious and unconscious, that the Global Village is facing catastrophic problems but that our most threatening problem is guess who? “The fact that video games are designed to be addictive is an open secret in the gaming industry. With the help of hired scientists, game developers have employed many psychological techniques to make their products as unquittable as possible.” (1)
In truth, if we fail to deal effectively with the myriad problems facing the human community, it will be because we allowed our fears to support disintegration rather than the integration necessary to create a community based on Oneness. “And while addiction was once regarded as a kind of vice or chemical thrall—and in more recent decades has been framed as dysfunctional neural circuitry—there is now a substantial body of research contextualizing addiction as a consequence of social isolation.” (1) Given that every human being is fundamentally exactly like every other person on our planet, any delusion used to label anyone as the other, thus isolating them is absurd and robs all of us of a meaningful future and maybe any future at all.
Insight # 166: “To create a sustainable society and one that is not replete with fear, we must find the courage to look at the reality of the devastation caused by belief in the other.” (2)
- Hardware Neurotica or Tweeting Our Lives Away in this blog and also in print version, Who Am I? (2013) by Roy Charles Henry, pages 87-89.
- Jabr, Ferris. “Can You Really Be Addicted to Video Games? New York Times Magazine, November 2019, pages 38, 41, 54.
- Henry, Roy Charles. Who Am I? Simple Reality, October 2013, page 23.