Defined as the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice – or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming – to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma, I’ve decided that addiction is simply human nature.
As a child and student, my knowledge of addiction was limited to the “big three,” if you get my drift – alcohol, tobacco and drugs. Nowadays, we have hundreds – if not thousands – of dependencies. In fact, these days it seems that everyone has an addiction of some sort.
From shopping to caffeine, the Internet, video games, gambling, religion, work, exercise, food, cell phones, texting, tweeting, sex, drugs and rock and roll, there’s certainly no lack of physical or mental dependencies out there.
Which begs the question, what aren’t we addicted to here in the 21st century?
I suppose you could even say I was an guitar addict back in the day, when I couldn’t seem to put the thing down for more than four or five hours (typically while I was sleeping). Actually, when I think about it, one of my primary reasons for bypassing a stint in the United States Marine Corps was the fact that I wouldn’t be allowed to bring my guitar to basic training. Granted, it wasn’t the only reason, but it definitely ranked right up there. Of course, now that I’m older, I’ve managed to get my “guitaraholism” under control.
Well, for the most part, at least.
And then there’s our worldwide addiction to fossil fuels. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that – if every last drop of oil and natural gas were to evaporate mysteriously right this very minute – their cessation would cause severe trauma. Then again, think of the howls coming from the big oil companies if that were to happen.
Whether we like it or not, as a race, we’re depressingly short on memory and long on greed.
For that’s exactly what the fossil fuel industry boils down to – greed and profits. It’s almost funny to think that – in a couple of hundred years or so – we’ll be fighting wars for water and food instead of that good old black gold. Don’t believe me? Well, unless we began to think and plan in the long-term, that’s exactly what’s going to happen. And you can quote me on that.
Now I realize I’m not going to change any minds here (although I’ll always wish that I could), but man-made climate change is a real, observable danger, one that we’re already seeing the effects of. I must admit, I find it laughable that so many people continue to dismiss the mounting scientific evidence for its proof, which is extensive. And don’t get me started on the global-conspiracy-of-scientists-looking-to-profit-from-make-believe-climate-change. I stopped looking for monsters under the bed when I was five, and that’s exactly what you conspiracy theorists remind me of – a scared little kid.
It’s no secret that the conservative right-wingers out there, at least most of them, have dismissed global warming and climate change as a fabrication. Which I find extremely humorous because they’re typically the first ones who want to “drill, baby, drill.” If they were to admit the very real dangers that climate change presents, well, just think of all that lost revenue. Anyone with a bit of sense can see that the politicians, big oil corporations, multi-millionaires and billionaires want nothing more than to line each other’s pockets.
As I said, short on memory, long on greed. And that’s probably our biggest – and most dangerous – addiction of all ... money. Too bad that money’s not going to do you a bit of good when the proverbial you-know-what hits the fan. Even worse, you can’t eat it or drink it. It won’t keep you warm in the winter, cool in the summer and it won’t keep you dry when it’s raining.
As for climate change and our addiction to fossil fuels (a non-renewable resource, I might add), until the evidence is slapping us in the face, I’m sure we’ll simply continue as we have, overpopulating the planet, exhausting its resources and, in general, ignoring the warning signs all around us.
But remember, the first sign of addiction is denial.
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