We are all addicts but don’t know it

Posted by Karen Degen on 22nd June 2015

Tags: Gabor Mate, TED talk, addiction, addictions, addicts

Today I listened to a great TED talk by Dr Gabor Maté who was talking about addictions.  His definition of an addiction is:  “Any behaviour that gives you temporary relief or pleasure but in the long term has negative consequences; and you can’t give it up despite the negative consequences”.  Often we look at others with addictions, perhaps to alcohol or drugs or gambling, and we look down on them because they can’t stop their behaviour.  Dr Maté pointed out that most of us are the same but don’t realise it.  For instance we continue to do things that cause global warming even though we know the long term negative consequences.   We continue to buy food that is factory farmed or that has had herbicides or pesticides used on it.  We know the damage that causes, but keep doing it anyway.  We keep doing these things because they are quick and make life easier for us or cheaper for us (short term pleasure). Are we addicted to comfort, ease and pleasure at the expense of the world?  It really made me think of all the things I don’t stop doing that I know are damaging.  Sometimes buying factory farmed chicken because it is massively cheaper than free-range for example.  Nearly always using my car when I could bus.  Often buying fruit and vegetables that aren’t organically grown.  I am addicted to my behaviour. What are you addicted to?  Perhaps we need to look with understanding on our fellow addicts who have just chosen different comforts to us.