A Portrait of an Individual and Societal Goal: To live A Healthy Life That Alleviates Suffering
By Steven A. Glodowski
Addicts are inconsiderate and produce suffering in connection to their addictions, and it’s irrational to think that actions originating from addiction would be or produce anything else other than suffering. Because to be addicted is an afflictive state of mind that produces suffering. Thus, any actions in connection to the addiction are also afflictive, and afflictive actions are fundamentally inconsiderate for both the individual and others. Whether the addiction is Food, Material- wealth, Alcohol, Attention, Gambling, or Heroine the addiction is not intrinsically different. Nor is addiction intrinsically different for a society or an individual, for a society is composed of individuals and their actions, and individuals are influenced by the actions of society.
We as individuals and society commonly build mental and physical constructs that directly or vicariously reinforce our addictions. There by, allowing “us” to justify, rationalize, validate, and or abdicate our sense of responsibility; creating the condition of conventional / relative ignorance. These mental, social, and physical constructs were not built overnight, and in a similar fashion they take more than one night to raze. Additionally, these constructs are intertwined with each other, and so it’s more complicated than razing one, then moving to the next, and so on. The razing of these constructs is more like untangling a very noted ball of string, with as much complexity as an individual to the power of the number of individuals that built and maintain the system. This gives for all essential intents, an infinite complexity of constructs. As such, analysis alone is not capable of freeing “us” from addiction and the resulting suffering. Also if one is not exceedingly vigilant analysis will only add to the complexity.
This does not imply that there is no medicine for the poison of addiction. For the antidote begins with our internal consideration of our addictions, and then the consideration of the addictions of others. The medicine of consideration is composed of compassion, discernment, vigilance and having reasonable expectations for the actions manifested in connection to addiction. It’s only rational that if we dedicatedly practice compassion in consideration with the causes and conditions surrounding our addictions, that “we” will naturally turn away from our addictions. And we will proportionally increase in our ability to live healthy lives, that wield actions that are not only not a cause of suffering, but conversely alleviate suffering.
However, the antidote is only as powerful as the energy and focus we wield in vigilantly discerning our actions. For through vigilant discernment of our actions we can determine the knots of addiction within our psyche. From that awareness we are capable of loosening the knots and eventually completely unraveling the knots of addiction, alleviating the associated suffering. Allowing us to live a healthier life. Where our actions don’t produce suffering for others or ourselves. Thus, creating a more joyous external environment for our neighbors, in turn creating a more conducive environment for our neighbors to untie their knots of addiction; continuing in an infinite chain of sentience.
Hence, if we as individuals and as a society hold the most rational and most noble goal, the goal of living a healthy life that is a cause for the alleviation of suffering, we must address our addictions with great compassion, energy, and focus.