It’s not something we talk about a lot, but the reality is is that human-kind’s predisposition to addictive behavior is pervasive throughout society. From drugs and alcohol, to gambling, sex, blackberries and simple carbohydrates (ie. sugar), the human brain is capable of latching on to just about anything and creating an addiction around it.
So, you’re probably wondering what the hell addiction has to do with systems and sustainability. It turns out, quite a lot. Just Google “oil addiction” and see how many hits you get (I’ll save you the time, 27 800 000).
Best place to start is with some Addiction Terms and Definitions. After getting familiar with that, head on over to Your Brain on Drugs for some biological and evolutionary perspectives. After that, dive into the addiction blog posts for some stories and experiences from my work with young addicts that will help you “see the connection”.
I figure, if we’re serious about our consumer/oil driven society being compared to addiction, then we better start treating it as such. Otherwise we need to find a new language to talk about it, and a new lens to view it through. As you’ll see though, many of the root causes of addiction are applicable across the spectrum of the disorder, whether the addiction is to heroin, sun-tanning or consuming the latest electronic gadget.