Michael Stuart Kelly Posted April 6, 2018 Share Posted April 6, 2018 Rand Versus MSK On Addiction A friend of mine, Anoop Verma, posted the following quote by Rand from her essay "Apollo and Dionysus" over on Facebook. Quote Is there any doubt that drug addiction is an escape from an unbearable inner state - from a reality that one cannot deal with - from an atrophying mind one can never fully destroy? If Apollonian reason were unnatural to man, and Dionysian intuition brought him closer to nature and truth, the apostles of irrationality would not have to resort to drugs. Happy, self-confident men do not seek to get stoned. Drug addiction is the attempt to obliterate one's consciousness, the quest for a deliberately-induced insanity. As such, it is so obscene and evil that any doubt about the moral character of its practitioners is itself an obscenity. The normal back-and-forth started up whenever addiction is mentioned in O-land. The subtexts are usually Rand was right/wrong, volition, reason versus emotion, etc. In this case (if you go to the link), one hapless poster even came up with a term "rational emotion" that he attributed to Rand and even said she clearly explained what a rational emotion was in her writings. (Try to find the term "rational emotion" in Rand's work. I doubt you will be able to find it. I certainly wasn't able to.) I wrote something off the top of my head over there and it was pretty well received, so I will share it here: ================ That quote of Rand's is one of the reasons I sought elsewhere (12 step groups) rather than Objectivism to cure my own alcohol and drug addiction. This was years ago. When you are trying to deal with a huge imbalance of pain, pleasure and confusion, calling yourself a moral obscenity is not helpful. Back then, I couldn't take her words seriously so they weren't even hurtful. I had a bad problem to solve and, from my experiential perspective, it was easy to see she didn't know anything about addiction. So I simply ignored that part of her writing and went about fixing my problem with what worked. Since then, I have learned a lot about the neuroscience of addiction and craving. When you take your nucleus accumbens for a walk on the wild side of the moon, or other dopaminergic and serotonergic systems for that matter, you fall into a neural trap that has very little to do with morality. On a psychological level, the emotional imbalance has more to do with loneliness, feeling betrayed by others, anxiety and so forth than epistemology. I needed help back when I was trapped. I sought it out, used it and got out of the trap. I recommend this path to all addicts. Seek help, especially from people who know about addiction. For some, it can be 12 step groups. For others, a clinic. For others, any number of addiction recovery systems out there. Once in a blue moon an addict can recover alone by sheer willpower, but once in a blue moon a person is born with six fingers on one hand. It's an exception, not the rule with human beings. To be fair, a moral decision can get an addict started on the right road to recovery, and maybe remind him once in a while of what he should do, but there's a lot of work that is not moral in getting the relevant neural pathways and networks to atrophy and replacing them with healthier ones. This is a long topic. I have studied it in depth and have written quite a bit about it here in O-Land--for years. So I've heard it all. That means I'm not going to bicker about this. I'm right. Period. To repeat, to anyone reading this, if you are an addict, get help. There is no shame in doing that. Be hopeful because there is a way out and be proud that you can do it. ================ I just reread it and I like it... Michael Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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