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Addiction and Community

Johan Hari explains how we misunderstand the causes of addiction and how the lack of social connection makes us more prone to addiction, and less likely to survive it.

Key quotes:

"Humans have a natural and innate need to bond and when we are happy and healthy we bond and connect with each other. If you cant do that because you're traumatised or isolated or beaten down by life – you will bond with something that gives you some sense of relief. That might be gambling, that might be pornography, cannabis or cocaine but you'll bond and connect with something because that's our nature, that's what we want as human beings. "

"A core part of addiction is about not being able to bare to be present in your life. "

" We are the most connected society there's ever been, surely, but often the connections we think we have are kind of a parody on human connection. If you have a crisis in your life, you'll notice that it won't be your twitter follower who will come sit with you. It won't be your facebook friends who will help turn it around. It will be your flesh and blood friends whom you have deep, nuanced, textured, face to face connections with.

The number of close friends the average American can call on in times of crisis has been declining steadily since the 1950's. The amount of floor space an individual has in their home as been steadily increasing, and that's like a metaphor for the choice we have done as a society – we've traded floor space for friends, we've traded stuff for connections and the result is that we are one of the loneliest societies there has ever been. "


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