To tackle this subject I first need to put my readers in the right frame of mind. Please bare with me! (read through and then follow the links and watch the video)
Upon reading very interesting comic strip on morphine addiction in rats I began researching subject of addiction a little further by following links at the bottom of the last page. The comic describe how rats isolated in cages displayed much more severe addiction than those living in a communal open space. Broadly speaking this experiment challenges the notion of drugs such as morphine as inherently addictive.
Then I watched the 18 mins interview with Bruce Alexander, one of the people involved in the experiment who later carried on his research into addiction this time looking at humans instead of rats. The interview intrigued me.
After watching it I went to the authors own website and came a cross fascinating article which I read through (except the notes at the bottom). It’s title is Rise and Fall of the Official View of Addiction I recommend reading it but it is really long and it will take time to go through it. Baring this in mind I copied and pasted the most important bits and exported them as pdf. You can read it by clicking here: Addiction.pdf
In brief summary Bruce Alexander argues that addiction is not a form of brain damage or disease as authorities would have us believe. The addiction problem encompasses many activities as well as substance abuse. (Good examples being workaholism and hoarding money.) Its source lies not in genetics, child abuse but in dysfunctional nature of the society. He attributes the problem to Dislocation. (Meaning being separated from ones culture/religion/family/community etc.) The addiction is then viewed not as a pathology but natural response to the difficult situation, a coping mechanism. In some cases addiction will not be harmful and might even be beneficial -as in old definition of the word when it was equivalent of devotion. In other circumstances in can become detrimental. This problem affect the whole society including those at the top. (Financial elites being a drastic example of money addiction.)
This links interestingly to the debate we had on Slavery Redefined blog in that it provides us with a psychological angle of the issues of slavery and also it demonstrates how malfunctioning system impact individuals regardless of their social standing, ideology, beliefs etc. It also shades new light on our discussion on chaos magic as yuppie phenomenon. It also links to some of the issues mentioned in Magical Constipation blog and article linked in the comments, especially the ones regarding generational gaps between magicians and the concept of magic as consumerism.
I posted a related thread Is Chaos Magic an Addiction? on the forum.