It turns out that, sure every rat in a cage with a button to administer an instant orgasm will die with his or her paw on the button, and that same rat, alone, will prefer drugged water to plain, until death, but this may not prove much about addiction. These are rats in solitary, they behave differently than rats in a Rat Park where they have good food, a social life, best friends, sex, exercise, rat toys, treats, things that rats really dig. The rats in the Rat Park drink the regular water because they’re thirsty from having fun, they are not looking for the drug water to take them out of their dreary, isolated existence in solitary confinement.
Turns out, as TED speaker Johann Hari makes a good case, that drug addiction is a response to misery and isolation more than a genetically hard-wired disease, chemical problem or moral weakness. I always love those who can hold their liquor pontificating about sobriety and the need to punish people addicted to arbitrarily illegalized drugs. We live in a binge and gorge and hoard-more-than-we-can-use society where we are marketed to all day long to stoke our longing for newer and better things to buy and have — hard for me to see the kid getting high as a criminal. The TED talk on this was very well-done.
I like TED talks, many of them are great, few of them are not at least interesting and well-done. But there is a sinister side to the silently corporate sponsored TED events that makes me want to say, and I hope you will forgive this outburst, “suck my ass, TED!” Check out the price of admission, once you apply for your ticket:
Yes, that’s $8,500. Put up or shut up, yo. Nobody’s holding a gun to your head.