Stephen Kahn

Addictions (Part 1)

In Uncategorized on December 24, 2011 at 8:09 pm

I have been thinking about addiction. Addiction isn’t just about needing something desperately. We all need air, we all need water. A short time without these substances, and we die. So addiction means we need something to the extent that it harms us.

Oddly, I am addicted to food; odd as food is a required substance. Lack of food doesn’t kill you as quickly as lack of air and lack of water, but starvation can do you in soon enough. However, too much food kills you as well, if more slowly. Fortunately, I have a mildly addictive personality, and I am fortunate in having my addictions cancel each other out a bit. For a long time, I did not exercise enough, thus becoming not only a bit fat, but also a bit depressed and probably a bit liable to a heart attack or a stroke. However, once I began seriously exercising (both at the gym and in my five acres of woods and big garden back yard), I began to lose weight and overcome the depression, and the exercise may have contributed to my still being alive at an age about 25 years past the age when my father died of a heart attack.

However, I became mildly addicted to exercise. Other people at the gym are more seriously addicted to exercise. Some of the exercise machines have signs requesting participants to stop using them after 30 minutes. (I am not in great danger of using any of these machines for 30 minutes without stopping.) Other people at the gym participate in events like iron-man triathalons, events where they swim for 2.4 miles, bike for 112 miles and run a marathon (26 and a smidgen miles). That MAY be good for some of the participants, but such events cause some people to drop dead of heart attacks and burns up the knees of other people.

Some substances, such as nicotine, heroin and cocaine are addictive to most people who try even a little bit. Others, such as alcohol, are addictive to a few people, but splendid for others. In the case of dangerous substances, you can live without the substance. For food addicted people, such as myself, one can’t go “cold turkey”; eventually I will have to eat some turkey, cold or not.

Interestingly, a species can become addicted. Some birds are addicted to migrating each year; however, some geese, such as the ones who migrate to Norwalk, Connecticut, have learned to stop migrating because they are apparently having so much fun polluting the lakes there with their droppings.

Humans, probably the most obnoxious species there is, though rats, starlings, cockroaches, and coyotes try to give us a run for our money, suffer from many spee-cial addictions, such as war, overpopulation, and noise. Is religious belief an addiction?

Like exercise, religiosity may be a mixed bag. Some people are inspired to kindness by their religious beliefs; others find belief fends off depression. On the other hand, some people are motivated to murder by their religious beliefs; others are depressed and guilt-ridden; some combine the worst of all possible worlds by becoming suicide bombers.

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  1. Here’s a video with some interesting & good news about population growth…

  2. Hi Karen,

    I watched several of the videos from PRI. The advocacy information presented here strikes me as a little more sensible and moderate than the arguments I used to read on WorldMagBlog before I was banned, but probably similar in its roots (an evangelical Christianity that does not appeal to me and is unlikely to convert me). I don’t think that coercive population control is a good idea and ideally the world should work toward achieving a stable population with good balance among the generation. Humans still face the problems of 1) the activities that lead to babies are dangerous extreme fun and 2) enthusiastically having babies so one can indoctrinate them into one’s religious belief strikes me as a little dubious. But people are going to do what they are going to do and I won’t be around that much longer to fret about it.

    By the way, I was confused by “PRI.” It also stands for Public Radio International as well as Population Research Institute.

  3. BTW, every now & then, someone on the World blog will mention missing you or wondering how you’re doing.

    • Karen, the people on the World blog who miss me can speak to the World blog pastor about allowing me back into the “congregation,” though I doubt that is what they really want. Evangelicals like to dish it out; they don’t care as much to be on the receiving end of the dishing.

      • “…they don’t care as much to be on the receiving end of the dishing.”

        You mean unlike other people who DO like being on the receiving end of the dishing? 😉 Really, who does like it?

      • Not many people like being on the end of the dishing. However, at World blog — maybe it has changed — there seemed to be an expectation that liberals, homosexuals, Muslims, and quite a few other people should embrace being dished with enthusiasm, appreciation, and obedience. People who dish back are told they are being Disobedient to God. The expectation seemed to be something along the lines of “You are speaking back to Daddy. You really know that you should obey Daddy.” When people argued that the interpretation of Daddy was incorrect (as quite a few did) and when people (such as I) said, “There is no Daddy) there seemed to be astonishment.

  4. Food additions are indeed tricky. Also, book addictions, though you have to completely distance yourself from humanity before that one becomes harmful. I think video games are a trouble addiction. Most of my addictions involve sitting or eating. My goal for the New Year (well, in addition to some exercise) to spend more of my free time being creative, and less eating to fill the void.

  5. Waxing, believe it or not, when I was about six years old or so, and got my first library card, I became addicted to books, as a form of escape from my family and from “the void.” However, there were no video games at that time, so I was spared that addiction. Although I was a complete klutz, I did go outside with my friends and throw balls and knock each other down, so I didn’t get fat until I was quite a bit older. Even though it’s in the middle of holiday pig out season, I weighed myself this morning and my poundage was fairly respectable. Everyone is different, so good luck to you on what you wrestle with.

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