Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Addicted to love…
Addictions appear to be on the increase. Note that I am using the plural here. So what I am talking about is not an increase in the population of addiction but the range of possible addictions available to us all! In the 18th/19th Century, at a time of imperialism and empire building, medicine underwent a similar process of enlarging the territory of the brain and claiming the territory with new names, theories and treatments. No doubt you have seen film reconstructions of the rich and famous watching cranial work in an operating theatre from the safety of the gallery. Foucaultâ€™s work on the history of madness amplifies this, richly. The process, started then, continues today, particularly as we apparently discover more about the very essence of mental functioning. The debate about whether a particular psychological condition is a result of some organic feature of the brain or whether it is a mental condition, inorganic and treatable by therapies, also continues.
And the one may feed the other. So I smoke cigarettes because I hear they have a calming effect. They calm. In time I have a craving and addiction for tobacco. Similarly it is thought that eating junk food or drinking coffee can result in obsessive desire to have more. People can be addicted to power, to murder, to solitude etc etc.
A few blogs ago I wrote about Tiger Woods and how this â€˜shamedâ€™ sportsman (that is how Sky News described him yesterday) was being dropped by advertisers because of his sexual encounters with white, blonde women. Now, apparently, he has gone into rehab for sexual addiction. I wonder who determined this condition and on what evidence? Was he eating, sleeping, dreaming of the next blonde he would bed? Was this put down to a black manâ€™s sense of inadequacy because of racial belittling of the colour of his skin so that these acts were proof of his equality with powerful white folks?
Does it mitigate his behaviour, if it actually needs mitigating, for him to be able to announce that it was an addiction and that he has now been cured? â€œI am not responsible, it was my condition!”
I quite like the heavy metal number that is also the title to this piece. The reason why? Well, most of us have experienced what is meant by it and, rather than go into a high-fee clinic, we would rather be out there, experiencing it in all its obsessive glory!