Thursday, January 29, 2015


There was a link over at Maggie's to a HuffPo article on addiction. Specifically, there was a long discussion of Johann Hari's book Chasing the Scream. (No link. Deal with it.)

Hari does shove some myths about addiction up against the wall very effectively, and that's a good thing.  But the general premise is that people emotionally bond with alcohol and drugs because they don't have available friendship and support bonds in their environment, and divert to that substitute. Not 100% false.

But consider: if that were the main cause of addiction, then when young people were vulnerable and away from home for the first time we could create organisations for them that would provide emotional support. It might be better if they were same-sex, to remove the added romantic and sexual complications and provide a type of support not available in the general milieu.  Academic encouragement.  Opportunities for leadership over minor activities of life. Networking and exposure to people of different talents and interests. They could even provide venues for opposite sex interactions.

We could call these organisations fraternities and sororities to emphasise the undergirding of classical learning, camaraderie, and unsexualised bonding.

I'll bet people would hardly drink there at all.


Sam L. said...

I am greatly amused. Sorta. OK, let's just say I cracked a smile. Wasn't a frat guy, myself. My dad was, and my brother, too.

Texan99 said...

Oh, now, is that fair? Are fraternities and sororities really a substitute for deep human bonding? They may be; I have no personal experience with them. But there's such a thing as a peer group that only exacerbates the lack of intimacy. If someone joins a Greek club and finds only a vicious kind of competition for social status, and a ethic of oblivion, it's no substitute for the deep meaning in life that guards people against self-destruction and the fanatical pursuit of numbness.

Maybe one person joins an art colony and finds solace, connection, purpose, and sobriety. Another joins a band and finds strife and frustration, and turns to heroin. We all have groups around us, but they're not all joyful bonding. Even the grunts in Viet Nam had tight units, but if they were miserable and alienated they were suckers for drugs.