Addictions and desire

2018-08-01

in Psychology

Addictions, even as they resemble normal human yearnings, are more about desire than attainment. In the addicted mode, the emotional charge is in the pursuit and the acquisition of the desired object, not in the possession and enjoyment of it. The greatest pleasure is in the momentary satisfaction of yearning.

The fundamental addiction is to the fleeting experience of not being addicted. The addict craves the absence of the craving state. For a brief moment he’s liberated from emptiness, from boredom, from lack of meaning, from yearning, from being driven or from pain. He is free. His enslavement is external—consists of the impossibility, in his mind, of finding within himself the freedom from longing or irritability. “I want nothing and fear nothing,” said Zorba the Greek. “I’m free.” There are not many Zorbas among us.

Maté, Gabor. In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction. 2012. p. 107 (italics in original)

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