Friday, 3 July 2009

Addiction is stubbornness

Addiction is a stubborn thing.

Fine: but we don't like to take the next step, and replace talk of 'addiction' with talk of 'stubbornness'. That would be to locate the stubbornness not in some hypothecated external demon called 'addiction', but in ourselves. But where else is the sticking point, when it comes to our addiction to things, if not in ourselves?


rog peppe said...

conscious vs. subconscious?

Adam Roberts Project said...

I suppose it's possible to be subconsciously addicted to something; less common though, surely.

A: I'd like to give up cigarettes, but (puff puff) I can't. You see, I'm addicted.

The advantage of saying, rather:

A: I'd like to give up cigarettes, but (puff puff) I can't. You see, I'm too stubborn.

Is that it relocates responsibility.

rog peppe said...

Maybe "non-conscious" might have been better. If I experience physical pain as a result of withdrawal, is it stubbornness that makes me abandon the withdrawal? One could say that I am addicted to breathing. Is it due to stubbornness that I carry on breathing, or would it be more stubborn to stop? If smoking is as natural to me as breathing, is it stubbornness that makes me carry on?

Adam Roberts Project said...

It's a good point. I'm just not sure that addicts are, in the main, non-conscious about what they're doing.

Discomfort can be stubborn, that's true; but people's willpower is frequently more stubborn. So then it's just a question of in which direction that stubbornness is going to be applied: towards maintaining the habit, or towards kicking it.