Saturday, April 21, 2018

Wisdom Of The Week

I don’t mean to suggest that no one ever endorses the choice to do drugs. Indeed, as the philosopher Hanna Pickard has argued, addictive behavior is often initiated and maintained by the purposes it serves in someone’s life, often as self-medication for physical or psychological trauma. Nor am I saying that addictive behavior is compulsive, irresistible, or completely out of the person’s control. After all, many people manage to recover from addiction without the help of medication or even clinical intervention.

The messy truth about addiction is that it lies somewhere in between choice and compulsion. Addictive cravings work in much the same way as the cravings that everyone experiences — for Netflix or chips, say. They do not simply take over one’s muscles like an internal puppeteer. Instead, they pull one’s choices toward the craved object, like a psychological kind of gravity.

But as Berridge’s research suggests, the neurochemical effects of addictive drugs make the cravings addicts experience far, far stronger than those the rest of us have to contend with in our daily lives. It may not be impossible to resist these cravings, but it is extraordinarily difficult. And given how hard it is to resist cravings of normal strength — just think of those bottomless chips — we should not blame someone with addiction for failing to overcome her neurobiologically enhanced cravings.

This is why addiction is not a moral failure. The addicted person need not be shortsighted or selfish; she may have the very same priorities as anyone else. Nor need she be any worse at self-control than the rest of us are. She is just faced with cravings that are far harder to resist.

Seeing addiction this way also helps us think more clearly about treatment. Emphasizing the bad consequences of using, whether by pushing someone to rock bottom or by threatening her with prison, is ineffective because the part of the mind that drives addiction can overpower thoughts about consequences.

The problem is not that a person with addiction does not understand the consequences of her actions, but that she is unable to use this understanding to control her behavior. Thus, we should not be worried about “enabling” her addiction by protecting her from its worst effects — for example, by providing her with clean needles.

The paradigm shift is most dramatic for medication-assisted treatment. While the Socratic view paints these treatments as crutches that leave the basic problem unaddressed, the divided mind view shows this to be wrongheaded. If the source of addiction is overly strong automatic cravings, then the most direct way to treat addiction would be to weaken or satiate these cravings in a non-damaging way.


People are dying because we misunderstand how those with addiction think

Quote of the Day



Friday, April 20, 2018

The Hacker & The Intern !






















Quote of the Day

Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books written in a foreign language. Do not now look for the answers. They cannot now be given to you because you could not live them. It is a question of experiencing everything. At present you need to live the question. Perhaps you will gradually, without even noticing it, find yourself experiencing the answer, some distant day.

-  Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Quote of the Day

As surgeons keep their instruments and knives always at hand for cases requiring immediate treatment, so shouldst thou have thy thoughts ready to understand things divine and human, remembering in thy every act, even the smallest, how close is the bond that unites the two.

- Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Quote of the Day

Don’t debate people in the media when you can debate them in the marketplace.

- Naval Ravikanth

Monday, April 16, 2018

Quote of the Day

If someone is able to show me that what I think or do is not right, I will happily change, for I seek the truth, by which no one was ever truly harmed. It is the person who continues in his self-deception and ignorance who is harmed.

- Marcus Aurelius, Meditations


Sunday, April 15, 2018

Quote of the Day

You have a grand gift for silence, Watson. It makes you quite invaluable as a companion.

- Arthur Conan Doyle, The Complete Sherlock Holmes

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Wisdom Of The Week

You’ve asked me how to become an intellectual. You’re young, it seems (only young people ask questions of that kind), and you think you might have an intellectual vocation, but you can’t see what to do about it. What should you do in order to become the kind of person an intellectual is? What kind of life permits doing what intellectuals do? How can you begin to have such a life? This is what you ask, and these are good, if grandiose, questions.

They’re also countercultural questions, at least in America. Here we tend toward contempt for intellectuals, when we think about them at all; our heroes are those who act rather than think, and especially those who find, or at least try for, wealth and fame. Most American parents would welcome their child’s declaration of an intellectual vocation with dismay at the penury, obscurity, and unhappiness likely to follow from heeding that call. And they’re unlikely to be wrong about the penury and the obscurity.

Still. The questions you ask are good ones because it’s clear enough that among the things we humans do is think, and we do it with a remarkable intensity and application and precision and range. We can, and some few of us do, formulate questions and try to answer them, even when neither questions nor answers have immediate or obvious practical application. We develop concepts and distinctions and thought experiments aimed at a deeper, fuller, and more precise understanding. And we argue with those who differ from us, sometimes, it’s true, out of the delight of battle and the urge for victory, but sometimes, too, because we find in argument a powerful device for clarifying a position and seeing how it might be improved.

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The first requirement is that you find something to think about. This may be easy to arrive at, or almost impossibly difficult. It’s something like falling in love. There’s an infinite number of topics you might think about, just as there’s an almost infinite number of people you might fall in love with. But in neither case is the choice made by consulting all possibilities and choosing among them. You can only love what you see, and what you see is given, in large part, by location and chance. Among those you see are some you love; and among them, perhaps, is some particular one with whom you’d like your life to be intertwined. So with topics for thought. Your gaze is drawn, a flirtation begins, you learn more, you find some interlocutors, and, sometimes before you know it, your topic is before you and your intellectual course is set. There’s no algorithm for this: It’ll happen or it won’t.

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With undistracted time comes solitude, and along with it, usually, loneliness. These can be affectively unpleasant. But there’s a lot to be learned from them. When loneliness obtrudes, tugging at your sleeve, invite it in as accompaniment to your work. Its company will provide unexpected texture to your time of thinking, and may help that activity as often as hinder it. Learn to be alone for your time of work.

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The most essential skill is surprisingly hard to come by. That skill is attention. Intellectuals always think about something, and that means they need to know how to attend to what they’re thinking about. Attention can be thought of as a long, slow, surprised gaze at whatever it is. Perhaps what you think about is camels: how they got to be what they are; what, indeed, they are; how to account for their physiognomy and habits; what capacities they have; what uses they might have for humans; how they appear in literature and song; what it’s like to ride them. Camels are surprising enough on the face of it, but so, really, is everything. That there is anything at all to think about, and that we can think about it: These are the first surprises, and those who think about those curious states of affairs are, I suppose, metaphysicians and theologians. They need to attend to their topic no more and no less than do camel-fanciers.

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And lastly: Don’t do any of the things I’ve recommended unless it seems to you that you must. The world doesn’t need many intellectuals. Most people have neither the talent nor the taste for intellectual work, and most that is admirable and good about human life (love, self-sacrifice, justice, passion, martyrdom, hope) has little or nothing to do with what intellectuals do. Intellectual skill, and even intellectual greatness, is as likely to be accompanied by moral vice as moral virtue. And the world—certainly the American world—has little interest in and few rewards for intellectuals. The life of an intellectual is lonely, hard, and usually penurious; don’t undertake it if you hope for better than that. Don’t undertake it if you think the intellectual vocation the most important there is: It isn’t. Don’t undertake it if you have the least tincture in you of contempt or pity for those without intellectual talents: You shouldn’t. Don’t undertake it if you think it will make you a better person: It won’t. Undertake it if, and only if, nothing else seems possible.