“We love the things that hate us, push snooze again girl I don’t wanna wake up, America the beautiful- that’s how she played us, wasn’t that cute-must have been her make up” (Slug, Atmosphere).
Cigarettes, alcohol, weed, opiates, pills, coffee, soda, fast food, gambling, cheating….think of how many of us indulge in at least one of the above on a day to day basis. I know that personally I can touch on four of the ten very easily on any given day. I drink a lot of coffee, smoke a lot of hookah, I’m a fan of red bull (sugar free of course), and sometimes I find myself having more than my fair share of alcohol. I’m a smart guy, I know better, but yet I still do it, and I’m not the only one. Is it cultural? Is it just us as Americans? Or is it something shared by the human race as a whole? Why do “we love the things that hate us”?
Anxiety, more specifically existential anxiety (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Existentialism), we feel it. Monotony, we want to break it. People have, and always will want more. We exist and we want more out of our existence. For that reason we indulge. We aren’t content with our minds as they are. We want to manipulate them, we want to escape reality. But, again, why? Our minds are powerful, but it isn’t enough. Day to day life weighs on everyone, I don’t care who you are, or where you’re from, nobody has it made. And for that reason, we all have our vices. Obviously people get addicted to tobacco, and there are chemical changes in the body that make us crave them, but knowing this, why do we pick up a cigarette in the first place? Cigarette smokers, anything tobacco related, there isn’t a person on this planet who doesn’t know that tobacco causes cancer, yet there are 852 million (http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-us/cancer-news/news-report/852-million-people-use-tobacco-products-worldwide) of the seven billion on the planet out there who use tobacco anyway.
I absolutely loathe the feeling of waking up after a night of drinking. I hate that I more than willingly alter my state of mind, knowing full well the repercussions, yet I proceed anyway. Every time I drink, I am left in a haze for the days to come. My mind doesn’t process things on the level that it should, and I can’t function at the level that I like to maintain. In spite of this, I will find a pull out one way or another and happily drink the night away. If my mind is my most powerful and valuable asset, why do I alter it negatively? I know better, but I don’t care.
From a bit of a religious perspective, the seven deadly sins are lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, envy, wrath, and pride. We are all sexual beings, we love to eat junk food, we are all ruled by the almighty dollar, we enjoy relaxation and being lazy, jealousy exists in all of us, we all indulge in our own feelings of anger, and we are all prideful beings. So according to the Catholic Church, we are all pretty screwed. Looking at it in these terms, we all sin, when we know very well that we should not.
Quite frankly, nobody knows why we do these things that we know are so bad for us. We know we shouldn’t lie, but people lie. We know we shouldn’t get jealous, but we do. We know we shouldn’t eat doughnuts for breakfast, but they’re so damn good. This question isn’t one that can be easily answered, and that’s why it hasn’t been answered yet. All I know is that I am me, and I need something more. I need something more than myself, and I don’t think I’m alone in that. The best conclusion I’ve been able to come to is that we are all incomplete, and we long to feel whole one way or another during our existence.