Adaptive addiction

From The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming (2019) by David Wallace-Wells:

Presumably, you can already feel this transformation underfoot, in your own life – scrolling through photos of your baby when your actual baby is right in front of you, reading trivial Twitter threads while your spouse is speaking. In Silicon Valley, even tech critics tend to see the problem as a form of addiction; but, like all addictions, it expresses a value judgment, if one that makes the unaddicted uncomfortable – in this case, that we find the world of our screens more rewarding, or safer, in ways so hard to justify and explain that there really isn’t a word for it other than “preferable.” This preference is much more likely to grow than shrink, which may seem like cultural devolution, perhaps especially to temperamental declinists. It could conceivably also be a psychologically useful coping mechanism for living, still within the consumptive bourgeois tradition, in a dramatically degraded natural world. A generation from now, god help us, tech addictions may even look “adaptive.”

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