My Broyher's Peculiar chicken

Decent Essays
The Acceleration of Addictiveness
What hard liquor, cigarettes, heroin, and crack have in common is that they 're all more concentrated forms of less addictive predecessors. Most if not all the things we describe as addictive are. And the scary thing is the process that created them is accelerating. We wouldn 't want to stop it. It 's the same process that cures diseases: technological progress. Technological progress means making things do more of what we want. When the thing we want is something we want to want, we consider technological progress good. If some new technique makes solar cells x% more efficient, that seems strictly better. When progress concentrates something we don 't want to want—when it transforms opium into heroin—it
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A lot of the change was due to legislation, of course, but the legislation couldn 't have happened if customs hadn 't already changed. It took a while though—on the order of 100 years. And unless the rate at which social antibodies evolve can increase to match the accelerating rate at which technological progress throws off new addictions, we 'll be increasingly unable to rely on customs to protect us. Unless we mass produce social customs. I suspect the recent resurgence of evangelical Christianity in the US is partly a reaction to drugs. In desperation people reach for the sledgehammer; if their kids won 't listen to them, maybe they 'll listen to God. But that solution has broader consequences than just getting kids to say no to drugs. You end up saying no to science as well. I worry we may be heading for a future in which only a few people plot their own itinerary through no-land, while everyone else books a package tour. Or worse still, has one booked for them by the government. Unless we want to be canaries in the coal mine of each new addiction—the people whose sad example becomes a lesson to future generations—we 'll have to figure out for ourselves what to avoid and how. It will actually become a reasonable strategy (or a more reasonable strategy) to suspect everything. In fact, even
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