Recognizing Addiction’s Motives
The capitalistic society of the United States runs on consumers buying things that they do not need. To get us to buy these things or to spend our money in this way, things are made cheaply so that they need to be replaced, and ever more sophisticated ways are developed using insight into our brains to cause us to want to purchase more things and spend more time with items that impact us.
We can see this the most clearly when we look at Television and video and how it affects us. While I was growing up, you could easily see the transition in the length of a show and the quantity and quality of the commercials presented. Quality in the sense that they were flashier, the jingles were catchier, and more money was spent on making them. There’s a reason that many people that had no interest in football would watch the Super Bowl for the ads!
When television, movies, and shorts went online through streaming services and self-publishing sites, advertising took off. Now the advertiser could see what a person interacted with, how much time they spend watching different content, and could tailor their ads to look and be more like what the user wanted– to cause them to buy. And the platforms looked for ways to make you more addicted to them, wanting to spend more time to drive more ad dollars to their true customers, and away from the viewers.
When we come to chapter 2 of the book of Proverbs, we find a section at the end talking about the forbidden woman and encouraging the son reading this book to stay on the right path.
It will rescue you from a forbidden woman,Proverbs 2:16
from a wayward woman with her flattering talk,
You will notice that the forbidden woman uses flattering talk to get the son to follow after her. She has left her husband, forgets God, and her ways lead to destruction. It all starts with flattering talk– you can have it your way, you can see videos you are interested in, you’ll feel really good. The beginning of addiction feels good because it lets you believe that you are in control and you are getting the most out of it. You do not realize the time or treasure you are giving up, because of the way that the benefit has been engineered to make you feel.
But the end of the addiction is the same as the end of the forbidden woman. Those that aid the addiction– whether physical or mental– are not out for your best good, but for their own ends. Video sites aren’t, of themselves, trying to make you better people or to encourage you to godliness, they want you hooked on their stuff so you keep coming back. The nicotine or narcotic that is sold to you has inside it that makes you want more, and to leave it is difficult!
We need to stay on the narrow path– to follow after the ways of light, and to be aware of what things around us are trying to do to us so that we are informed– so we can flee the bad and choose the good. We need to be in the right paths so that we can recognize the forbidden woman and her flattering talk and walk away– because we have something better.