Chapter Seventeen


last updated 1.7.23

An addict is someone who despite great effort cannot stop doing something that they know is extremely harmful to themselves. Obvious examples of addiction are drugs, alcohol or gambling, but there are many others. Addictive behavior varies in degree so some are less harmful than others like being addicted to social media may not be as bad as being addicted to heroine. Wherever the line is drawn between socially acceptable and unacceptable addictions, it is hard to accept that any healthy intelligent person would do anything that is harmful to themselves. Why would they? Again, there are degrees. If studies have shown that alcohol is bad for us, why would a healthy intelligent person have a glass of wine at the end of a long week or at their daughter's wedding? It's all relative. Something that is a little harmful over a span of time of predominantly healthy behavior is deemed acceptable. We're only human. A little pleasure once in a while on a special occasion is ok in moderation, isn't it? Being good all the time is almost boring. If we study everything close enough, we might be surprised at how many things have a small degree of danger or unhealthiness in them. We don't want to become obsessed with this idea.

Where this matter becomes serious is in the difference between short term and long term effects of addictive behaviour. A certain level of maturity as an individual and as a people is required to live responsibly. Again, we are defining addictive behaviour as something that we know is bad, but we cannot stop doing it. Smoking is a common example of something that is far from life-threatening if done only once, but if done repeatedly, daily for years it's long term effects can kill a person. The invention of vapor devices has eliminated a lot of the unhealthy side-effects of breathing in smoke while still giving the person the nicotine fix they crave so this is a much better option, but the addictive behavior is still there. In this sense, the addiction is the need for something outside ourselves in an attempt to make ourselves feel better. The challenge each person has is to find healthy activities or self-growth work that addresses this need in a natural and beneficial way. We were born healthy and sustainable animals like every other creature on the planet. Someone somehow somewhere along the line taught us that we weren't. We are. Find your way back.

When it comes to the long term effects of our behaviour as a people, for example, living in a 1st World country, much of our cultural behaviour is unhealthy for us and for our planet. Nuclear power creates radioactive waste that needs to be buried deep within the ground where it will be life-threatening to human beings, and all life, for thousands of years. Fossil fuels, like oil, are not replenishable which means the supply of them will eventually run out of it as wars are being fought over what remains while our continual use and dependence on them produces such a huge amount of pollution that it is altering the climate of the entire planet. Our consumption of paper goods is so ravenous that we are depleting the world's forests at a rate that they can never possibly recover from while lessening the role these forests play in cleaning the air we breathe. I apologize. This is a lot of heavy and depressing information to be confronted with, but it is a clear example of more addictive behavior. Unfortunately, it is all interconnected from the compulsive shopper buying useless products produced unsustainably to the van that runs on gasoline to deliver it to his or her house to entire nations strategizing often unpeacefully to get their addictive needs met. All these examples come down to one commodity in a variety of forms. Energy. We have become energy junkies. We have lost the will and ability to produce much of what we need by ourselves and are relying on a completely unsustainable system to provide it in a way that keeps us dependent, i.e. addicted to it. We are strung out on an artificial system when the natural one is right outside our doors. All we have to do is stop. Walk outside and find it. Find others who are looking for their way back, too. Those who are angry and afraid only represent the fear that they refuse to face within themselves. Stay clear of them. They may not be able to save themselves if their fear is overpowering them. Conquer yours and show them the way. Some addicts will not be able to save themselves. Some who there is hope for may still have to come to a point where they have no choice, but to change or it will kill them. As a people, for the healthy intelligent person, we know that at that point it will be too late so we're getting clean, now.