We started talking about the nature of addiction at the end and whether there’s a positive aspect to it, but I don’t know if it was fully covered. So, let’s have ourselves a thought experiment:
A corporation produces a drug we’ll call soma after the Huxley product. However, this drug’s existence is free from the other bad things in Huxley’s novel. All that happens in this thought experiment is that the company produces the product and various governments subsidize the product so anyone can have it as much as they want for free. We’ll further imagine that any possible externalities from this (e.g. the governments withholding funding to screw the public/coerce the public, any tax problems, etc. etc. ad nauseam). All that’s happening is that the public has unlimited access to a drug with no side effects that creates a euphoric, psychedelic high.
The question is, is this a bad thing?
And, to add another comparative layer, if this drug had vicious withdrawal symptoms that wouldn’t kill but would force the person back into drug therapy, is that a bad thing?
And the third question is, how is this different than any other kind of addiction? Isn’t life, in that it’s a process designed to elicit pleasure from activity, an addictive process? And how do we escape this cycle of addiction?
That’s a lot to digest, I know. I’m interested in hearing your thoughts.