12.0224 Internet addiction & other devoted states

Humanist Discussion Group (humanist@kcl.ac.uk)
Sun, 27 Sep 1998 18:43:22 +0100 (BST)

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 12, No. 224.
Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London

[1] From: Peter Evans <evans@i.hosei.ac.jp> (27)
Subject: twelve-stepping

[2] From: Willard McCarty <Willard.McCarty@kcl.ac.uk> (30)
Subject: addiction defined

Date: Sat, 26 Sep 1998 12:48:55 +0900
From: Peter Evans <evans@i.hosei.ac.jp>
Subject: twelve-stepping

I thank Dr McCarty ["12.0222 gleanings"] for alerting me to the possibility
that I might have Internet addiction. I rushed straight over to the
Netaddiction site, decided that, yes, I could be addicted, and took The Test
<http://www.netaddiction.com/resources/test.htm>. I scored an alarming 53
(where 0% is I suppose scored by blowpipe-toting Amazonians and 100% by those
who take their LAN cables intravenously).

The general comment for those scoring between 50 and 79 is "You are
experiencing occasional or frequent problems because of the Internet. You
should consider their full impact on your life." After contemplating the
particular set of scores with which I reached a total of 53, Dr Kimberly Young
or her robot surrogate derived additional advice for me, personally: "You are
experiencing occasional or frequent problems because of the Internet. You
should consider their full impact on your life."

One of the questions had been: "How often do you choose to spend more time
on-line over going out with others?" "Frequently", I had shamefacedly

I think I'll consume less Internet and more alcohol.


A perceptive and darkly humorous book that may be relevant to the notion of
"Internet addiction" is: Wendy Kaminer, *I'm Dysfunctional, You're
Dysfunctional: The Recovery Movement and Other Self-Help Fashions*
(Addison-Wesley, '92). Read it and the "Psychology" section of your local
bookstore will appear even more gruesome.
Peter Evans evans@i.hosei.ac.jp

Date: Sun, 27 Sep 1998 18:41:42 +0100
From: Willard McCarty <Willard.McCarty@kcl.ac.uk>
Subject: addiction defined

Two clicks of my mouse and a small bit of typing yields the following from
my trusty OED on CD-ROM:

[ad. L. addiction-em, n. of action f. add_c-ere; see addict.]
1. Rom. Law. A formal giving over or delivery by sentence of court. Hence, A
surrender, or dedication, of any one to a master.
2. a. The state of being (self-)addicted or given to a habit or pursuit;
b. The, or a, state of being addicted to a drug (see addicted ppl. a. 3
b); a compulsion and need to continue taking a drug as a result of taking it
in the past. Cf. drug-addiction s.v. drug n.1 1 b.
3. The way in which one is addicted; inclination, bent, leaning, penchant.
Also in pl. Obs.

Hence in the context of the Internet we must now consider various submissive
states (surrender, bondage) as well as those that involve a giving of self
(inclination, devotion, adoration) but are not submissive, or not
necessarily, as the lovers among us will know.

Perhaps, then, we should consider use of the Internet to conduct a love
affair as the norm, of which all other uses are attenuated versions. (What
other use would press the medium more ferociously?) If so, then perhaps a
policy change on the priority of use for public-access workstations in
university computing centres is in order. We could also introduce a new
prerequisite for enrolment in basic computing courses ("must be madly in
love..."). Or perhaps just addicted.

Helpfully yours,
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Dr. Willard McCarty, Senior Lecturer, King's College London
voice: +44 (0)171 873 2784 fax: +44 (0)171 873 5801
<Willard.McCarty@kcl.ac.uk> <http://ilex.cc.kcl.ac.uk/wlm/>
maui gratia

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