Addiction and pornography: rediscovering virtue in the internet age

It’s been a while folks. Inspiration is a mysterious and fickle thing.

My latest article at MercatorNet examines the underlying nature of addiction, and how it inhibits our greater happiness and enjoyment of life:

This disproportion between the object of addiction and the pleasure or enjoyment we derive from it is characteristic of all addictions. When the pleasure and pain we feel at the presence or absence of the object far outweighs its objective value or significance, something is clearly awry.

Becoming sexually excited by images and videos may be the quintessential addiction of the internet age, but it is also deeply absurd because images and videos per se are not sexually exciting.

Taking a drug to experience “ecstasy” might be popular too, but it is absurd because there is nothing intrinsically ecstatic about ingesting a tablet.

On this level, addictions are always absurd. In the first instance they break the relationship between reality and pleasure, leading us to seek pleasure in unreal and absurd stimuli.


2 thoughts on “Addiction and pornography: rediscovering virtue in the internet age

  1. I wonder sometimes if addictions rise up the more we become a society that experiences “skin/touch hunger”? People not receiving healthy touch on a regular basis creates such a vacuum, that eventually the deep need explodes elsewhere l think; like in a physical relationship you wouldn’t have otherwise engaged in had one had healthy consistent touch. I wonder if that is worse for melancholics, as in are melancholics more at risk of skin/touch hunger?

    • You could be right, Cassie. I hadn’t really thought about it in temperament terms, but it’s reasonable to think that different societies would have different shortcomings and corresponding vices/addictions. It’s also true that melancholics are more prone to withdrawal, and therefore more likely to lack or miss out on basic components of social interaction like touch.

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