It's a strange thing, then, addictions. the original inspiration for this article spurred from a reading of Cracked's "5 creepy ways video games are trying to get you addicted", and I will save myself time later by apologizing for the amount of times I am forced to use the word, or variants thereof, addiction.
When I wake, I try to cook something, breakfast I prefer to be varying and different, something original but familiar. The reason why is unknown to me, it's just a compulsion. Certainly I only require the base amount of nutrition but there is a feeling that I need a difference, a change, some control.
I try not to watch T.V. I read, instead, but even free magazines suck me in with the strange siren of meaning and autonomy. The thrill obtained just from accomplishing whatever goal (Bake the Perfect Frittata!) the hamster in my head tells me to aim for is momentary, until the horrible secondary voice in the back of my head tries to place the puzzle piece of success in the larger picture of the jigsaw I'm completing, which has no sides, no reference, and no end in sight; the puzzles of my youth where we had lost a few key pieces and were now ignobly stored in Ziploc bags.
Even eschewing the virulent sources of consumer pop-culture does not spare me the usual cravings for asinine garbage. I had the craving the other day for a new purse, for what reason I could not possibly document. Even as I write this, it is plugged into a laptop with freshly manicured nails. The woman who owned the salon the nails were duchessed at was a small-business owner, something you could sense about her within a few minutes of meeting her, the bustle and competence scurrying around her sensible shoes. Hearing her story, her history, a few words of interest made me think and wonder. As a child I was forever saying what I wanted to be when I grew up, but that nebulous time has undoubtedly arrived and I find myself disenfranchised.
When so much in life has been reduced to a series of drop-down selectable menus and replaceable facades, the overall governance of our own life is still shrouded in mystery and, dare I say, peril. It is the biggest game of poker you will ever find: the stakes, all-in; the rules, incomprehensible; the penalties, eternal. We array a platter of pop-ups, we construct mazes of challenges and struggles, we convince ourselves, froth ourselves into a frenzy, to appeal to the ruthless master of our internal measure that it matters, that this - truly THIS- is what life is about.
Even the culture we swim through, when we wish to break free of the presiding "reality t.v." or video game, or what-have-you, addiction, there is another culture there to catch us, to show us, that this - truly THIS- is what life is about. Even the conspiracy theorists, (Why the Government is Out to Get You) or the artists, (This Represents the Sadness of Love Lost) have a specially designed web, net, cradle, to hold us softly to spare us from what Sartre called Anguish; the uncomfortable realization that we are indeed, wholly responsible for our individual spiraling existence.
Perhaps it is, then within this overarching sand heap of ants, that we are found, we can rest assured that everything does matter within the larger context. But many days it feels as though I am breaking the game of truth or dare, that I have peeped behind the massive curtain behind the sets, and instead of production gear or lights, have found - nothing, but my fellow actors keep playing, and I have lost my part, my lines, where's my mark? The query now, do I keep playing, hold my breath, hope the magic holds, assume it matters not, or do I acknowledge the empty, hold to it, to what end? I suspect I know the end of that route, and I like both my ears. Oddness, for certain to assume my place is to be some sort of traveling meta-player, rollicking across the stage while the audience, (is there an audience?) tries to ensure I don't spill their cosmic drinks?
Scarier still, is the thought of the realist, non-realist debate. If a realist perspective holds, this angst has no point other than to keep me awake for sleepless nights, which no doubt, makes the problem worse. But should a non-realist perspective hold, my answer is solved, within the relief that the only things which exist are those that I choose to focus on, 'meaning' can go stuff itself, and I can sleep soundly with no worse fear than should I die in my sleep everything I've ever known would be obliterated (buh?), which will likely keep me up.
It is to this problem I return, like a dog to a rope toy, time and again, with about as much success. Elegantly simple, yet fiendishly engaging, with no end in sight, no way off the hamster ball of this obsession. I shelve it, time and time again, like a book that I read which has contented itself to seat one the main character in a bland room with no theory as to why or when it will cease. I have hurled it across the room, but faithfully return panting.