Thursday, July 29, 2021

Life of a Caffeine Addict

From an NPR interview:
"I think the word 'addiction' has a lot of moral baggage attached to it," he says. "As [Johns Hopkins researcher] Roland Griffiths told me, if you have a steady supply of something, you can afford it and it's not interfering with your life, there's nothing wrong with being addicted."
Actually he goes on to explain that there is something wrong with it.
It's a problem in ways we don't perceive, because caffeine undermines the quality — not necessarily the quantituay, but the quality — of our sleep. And specifically, one very particular kind of sleep, which I'd never heard of before, called "slow wave" or deep sleep.

And what is the benefit to caffeine? The main effect is merely to control the withdrawal symptoms and maintain the addiction!

they're beginning to go through that withdrawal. They're starting to feel a little off — that muzziness is coming in. Maybe they have a headache. Maybe they're a little irritable. And then they have that cup of coffee, and the pleasure they're getting from it, I learned, is not simply the lift, the euphoric lift of the drug. It's the suppression of the symptoms of withdrawal. We go through that cycle. ...

Those people [who are addicted] are getting a little bit of lift, but mostly what they're getting is the relief from these symptoms that are about to come down on them. And that feels pretty good. You're back to baseline.

(I heard this broadcast on NPR a couple of days ago, but I see from the web site that it was a rerun from last year.)

This guy explains that slavery made tobacco and caffeine production feasible, and then these drugs were used to keep factory workers going for long hours. They enslave the users, as they cannot go a single day without their drug fix. Most modern office supply free caffeine machine to keep the employees working.

And yet he willing submits to a drug-addicted life!

If he wants to live that way, that is his business, but he is wrong to say "there's nothing wrong with being addicted." The addict is not fully human. He becomes what Aristotle would call a natural slave.

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