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jts

Paul Erdos, abstinence from a drug for 30 days

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There is a story about the mathematician Paul Erdos who used a drug and on a bet abstained from the drug for 30 days to prove he was not addicted. During the 30 days his mathematical productivity was close to zero.

https://www.amphetamines.org/paul-erdos.html

In at least one version of the story there is the assumption that the fact that he was able to abstain from the drug for 30 days proves he was not addicted to it. That is not how I see it. To me, the fact that he needed the drug to do math at his normal level of productivity proves he was addicted.

Addiction does not imply lack of volition. There is such a thing as having an addiction and beating it by will power. It is possible to say I have this addiction but I choose to not give in to it. It's not necessarily easy. You might need to go thru hell with the symptoms of detox. You might need to set aside time off your job because during detox and healing you might be nonfunctional in both body and mind, in an extreme case. You might find rest helpful -- physical rest, mental rest, emotional rest, sensory rest, physiological rest (fasting). Even with total rest, you might have severe, unpleasant, crippling symptoms. in an extreme case. Supervision by a qualified doctor might be helpful, in an extreme case.

But perhaps for some people the term 'will power' is old fashioned and out of date and too harsh.

Step one in AA begins with "we admitted we were powerless". I would replace 'powerless' with 'addicted' and differentiate between the 2. To be addicted is not the same as to be powerless.

Some Objectivists deny that there is such a thing as addiction, probably because they see addiction as denial of free will. I think addiction is real but it does not deny free will.

 

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3 hours ago, jts said:

There is a story about the mathematician Paul Erdos who used a drug and on a bet abstained from the drug for 30 days to prove he was not addicted. During the 30 days his mathematical productivity was close to zero.

Perhaps he also proved he needed the drug to do the math. 

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47 minutes ago, BaalChatzaf said:

Perhaps he also proved he needed the drug to do the math. 

Read the last sentence of my second paragraph.

 

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10 minutes ago, jts said:

 

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9 minutes ago, Brant Gaede said:

People seem to be addicted to food.

Try not eating for two days.

--Brant

this competition not open to fasters

My main point in the first post in this thread is addiction is not a denial of choice. The same applies to food addictions.

 

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