Thank You for Smoking…

A personal liberty is only that which is granted by the group...

Today’s post is based upon a 2005 satirical comedy which follows the machinations of “Big Tobacco’s” chief lobbyist, Nick Naylor, whose job was to spin on behalf of cigarettes while trying to remain a role model for his twelve-year-old son.  As what has me on this today, well its “smoking” and yea this one might hit a nerve with a few people, however that’s life.

As when I come to Houston which I do a lot, my home away from home is a Marriot in the “Medical District” of Houston and it (the District not the hotel) is huge!  Now the Marriot is a NO SMOKING hotel, so if you want to light up its outside you go and trust me there are plenty out there.  So again what’s the big deal Campbell, yea so people are standing outside smoking your point here?

Simple, the people for the most are here for health reasons, mostly cancer yet they continue to light up and smoke their life away!  So here you are having a part of your body cut off and injected with poison to make you deathly ill (chemo) and you have to light up?  Please, ok now many of you (assumingly smokers) are saying “hey wait a minute its my right to smoke”!  Ok, same thing for the motorcyclist who doesn’t want to wear a helmet as it may dampen their manhood as a “rain coat” would and thus the point of today’s post is born.

As we could wax for days what is a personal “liberty” however I don’t have that long and I doubt you do either so let’s cut to the chase.   Personal liberties break down when we join a social order as in these cases we must forego a portion of these applied liberties for the betterment of the whole and if we fail to this we may be asked to leave.  What am I getting at here, simple these people who have a portion of their body removed and are standing out in the cold (yes its rather chilly here today) have insurance.

Ok, so you say they paid into it [insurance] so stop complaining, however so did you, as well as I and isn’t the idea of insurance that the “whole” will protect the few?  However what happens if the whole decide they want to do something which the “whole” cannot afford to pay for?  This is where “social loops” break down because as with most things “personal” liberties are only a manifestation of social constructs.  Much as we’ve wax about “personal” privacy being a fallacy having once been regulated by [high] cost is now open to all with a computer and a little internet savvy.

Here the idea [rhetoric proof if you will] of liberties being falsehoods is the fact they are not universal as you can go to Amsterdam and smoke a little weed.  Yet should you do this in many Asian or Middle Eastern countries you might find yourself forfeiting your life for this “liberty” which you took in Amsterdam.  Therefore the logic which creates this “economy” is a false one as society decides your liberties and not you.  Just something to think about the next time you light up…

To Crave, or Not to Crave is the Question…

Misery Loves Company...

As what happens when we “crave” something, well first what is a craving if you will?  To find out let’s look to our ole friend Merriam Webster who says it is to want greatly, to yearn for as in to have a strong or inward desire.  So what happens when you want something, as are all cravings equal or do some have greater priority over others?

For each person the weight of this answer may differ, however what keeps these “cravings” in check if you will from running wild.  Well past the age of 5 or there about with the Theory of Mind we also start to understand the concept of discipline which we are taught is used to balance our cravings, such as “you can’t have that cookie as its will spoil your dinner”.  Here it is suggested we defer the ability to gratify our “craving” for another goal, and even a goal we may not be all that interested in achieving.

However what is interesting is a study discussed in a recent issue of Scientific America’s “60 Second Mind” says that people who are suppressing a craving are more attune to violence and distress then if they were not suppressing the same feeling.  What was clear is that to deny a craving or desire resulted in a measure of implied discomfort.  So what’s new about this as most smokers or dieters know it’s no fun taking a pass on the craving which is seemly driving them out of their minds?

Well this association seems to imply that being psychological or physiological the act suppress has a “real” affect as the old adage which says “misery loves company”  is based upon the concept that people wish to associate with others who are in the same state of attunement as they.  This is one of the reasons support groups work as each person in the group is passing through the same general experience as the other in the group thus a shared social feeling or “bond” is created within the group and typically after the commonality is diminished or eliminated the social connections are also lost.

So why is this of interest, well first it will help with the ability to overcome or manage negative cravings, such as cigarette smoking, gambling addictions and so on, as supporting a person who has just taken their last puff on a cigarette with a Kathy Lee Gifford smile is most likely not going to be helpful and may even act as a deterrent.  Next as mentioned above, support groups however the group must be relevant to the phase to the person seeking the suppression is in.  As if you place for exampled a person who is “just” quit smoking with a person who has quit for 3 months yet has minor cravings will not be the same as if the both (or all) parties are at the same general stage of quitting.

Then finally it is for all to understand that while cravings may be all in ones head, they have “real” social connections which drive them and they require social support to change them as no man is an island…