Dante wrote The Inferno. I am not sure about this – anyone can correct me if they wish, but I think Dante described the greatest sin as giving up control of your life to something external – gluttony, sloth, envy, greed, power, or addiction. The punishment for violating the greatest sin was total loss of control – I think he said something about being frozen in a block of ice with only your head exposed, with buzzards pecking at your face. He wrote this in about the 12th century (correct me – I am writing from memory.)
In 1850 Cocaine was reduced to powder form. In 1898 Heroin was synthesized from opium. In 1918 Methamphetamine was invented (discovered?) These powerful drugs have only been around for about 150 years, 700-800 years after Dante wrote about loss of control.
Today we face a major pandemic of drug addiction – supplemented by the drug alcohol. Because of these powerful stimulants people have discounted the damage of alcohol addiction. Our goofy society continues to demonize addicts as morally corrupt, weak willed, sissies.
Worse still, society has now lumped every conceivable unacceptable behavior into the category of addiction. Gambling, Sex, Golf, and bowling – anything that seems to consume is labeled an addiction. This is a disservice to any person suffering from either a true addiction or a compulsive behavior that is destroying their life.
The term ‘addiction’ is losing its value as a descriptive word. The term conjures up images that are different for most people. For a word to be useful it must have a common meaning.
More later – I will respond to comments