Reading this ‘New Statesmen’ supplement on addiction, I came across the following quote:
Raj Persaud … Everyone is addicted to something. In the film Wall Street, Martin Sheen says to Gordon Gecko, “When is enough enough?” because Gordon Gecko is already worth hundreds of millions and is hell-bent on destroying yet another company in order to strip its assets and to have yet more money. For Gordon Gecko, there is no enough.
We are biologically wired to be addictive because we have endogenous opiates. We have a reward system within us that makes evolutionary sense at some level to have certain addictions. When we taste a sugary food, our brain is wired to be very rewarded by that and to seek more sugary foods. Millions of years ago, it made biological sense because we were living in an environment where there was scarcity. Now we live in an environment where you can have as much sugary food as you like and you have to exercise self-restraint. You have to act against your own biology. The commercial world encourages a lack of self restraint because it is in advertisers’ and products’ interests to get people not to exercise self-restraint, so you have advertising slogans like “Naughty but nice” and “Go on, treat yourself”.