Addictions in our lives exist in all forms – whether we realize it or not. It may be the more serious and dangerous cravings for drugs, tobacco, alcohol, caffeine or even gambling. We may also be addicted to soda, certain kinds of food, television, PC games, gossip, movies, internet, reading, writing the list goes on. But whats dangerous about any form of addiction is its slow creep over your character – day by day it becomes more and more central to your life. We may not feel it or we may imagine that we are making a deliberate choice and can easily give up such habits (a common refrain of smokers and alcoholics) but the hard truth is that, most of the time we can’t spend a day without them.
I have seen many smokers, over-confident about their self-control, declaring with insolence how they can give up smoking anytime they want. Only to sheepishly grin and reach for pack after pack. The problem here isn’t just the health issues of these substances whatever they maybe. For me the greater problem is the degeneration of the mind – the weakness of the spirit which becomes a puppet of inanimate objects. And in that sense, a person addicted to reading has as much compromised his freedom as a drug junkie.
And if you see the common theme that runs through almost of the items/activities I mentioned is that they give us a relief. A relief from the mundane, flat cliché of real life. They provide us a cave for us to hide in where we can imagine our lives in a different light. Tobacco/Alcohol/Coffee give a temporary euphoria. Drugs make us hallucinate. Gambling allows us to build castles in the air. PC Games/Internet/TV immerse us in a virtual reality. Reading/Writing feed & help us express our imagination. But all the same, they help us to walk out of the real world of flesh and blood. And the more time we spend in our dungeons of our minds, the more we like it and with it comes a dislike for our actual state. And in our hate and fear for reality we dive deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole.
And we get owned by these habits. Our waking lives become the dream and we imagine our dreams to be tangible and possible. That is my beef with anything that tries to make my decision for me. The internet is a great tool I use almost every other moment of my waking life but it is a tool, not my life. I love whiskey but I don’t stumble through life in a drunk stupor. I love the smell of gourmet coffee and aged tobacco but I have never needed them to keep me awake. I love to read but I prefer to look out the window when am travelling.
The intent of any belonging is to enrich our lives but the moment you feel you can’t live without it – is the moment you need to discard it right away.
If a smoldering roll of paper with some dried up crushed leaves, is the high point of your day – is that really a life you are living?