The Change Addict

November 24, 2014 by Rabbi Laibl Wolf
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I still recall a time when people kept things new and forever.

Rabbi Laibl Wolf

Rabbi Laibl Wolf

Drove the same car for decades. Wore the same jacket for twenty-five years. Lived in the family home for a lifetime. Went to the same holiday house for generations. Bought groceries from the same grocer, knew the fishmonger by name and went bowling every Tuesday night. Today, wear the same watch for longer than a season and you are viewed with pity, and hold a job for more than a year will earn you the epithet of ‘loser’.

Why the change? Has commercialism incubated a consumer society? Has production inbuilt deliberate obsolescence? Have food additives and water toxicity mutated human nature?

Children’s games no longer require the unforgivingly slow throw of the dice. Instead, touch-driven keyboards produce immediate screen effects. i-phones locate their prey uncannily and instantly, stimulating the receiver’s heart via idiosyncratic tunes or electronic tags. Drugs alleviate boredom. Medications relieve McDonald’s-induced indigestion. Sleeping pills turn off the lights of consciousness with escapist ease. Watch a 1970’s movie and it moves ever so slowly. Read a classic and the lack of action is tortuously boring.

Our world worships change – fast change. And creation obliges. Nothing is still. Ever since G-d breathed the breath of life into the universe it has been in a state of perpetual motion – and change. Molecules and atoms choose different partners all the time. Neurotransmissions reshape the brain plasticly. Continents shift. Climates change. Sensibilities alter. And women are always changing their minds!

So what’s new? The expectations are new. We are addicted to change. We crave change. We need the daily experiential fix – a new experience, a new sensual appeal, a titillation of our senses, an arousal of our autonomous nervous system, cortical alertness, stimulation overload. “I’m bored”’s threshold is a quantum leap beyond it’s tipping point of a generation ago.

The cell phone beckons and the limbic system dances with emotions of expectancy, quickly reaching tidal wave proportions – someone cares about me, someone wants to connect to me, the world calls me with opportunity, the unknown, a special experience. Then the downer of yet another prosaic vendor of some useless service or product who somehow has you down on a never-ending spread-sheet. The greater the addiction, the greater the letdown.

Why are we so addicted? Because we are so alone, so insecure, so low self-esteemed. So we compensate, wanting to feel alive, vibrant, connected. Our core need is to satisfy the soul’s reach through the labyrinth called the body. The soul quests its reincarnative journey – journeying emotions through relationships with people, with world, with G-d; journeying mind through curiosity, knowledge, discovery; journeying spiritually through belief, higher consciousness, One-ness.

Feeding the soul a nutritionally deficient ‘diet’ perverts its quest. Spiritual ‘fast food’ consist of sensual and titillating experiences simulating the real thing – but with disastrous consequences of ‘indigestion’ – depression, dependency, and despondency. The momentary addictive lift dissipates, leaving emptiness and void in its wake.

Change is a giant cosmic wheel, turning inexorably, providing a constant opportunity for discovery and wonderment. Approach the opportunity ungraspingly, without ego or self-ingratiation and the results will be beautiful and meaningful. Steal the opportunity for exploitative personal needs and the result will be prison of addiction

Change is opportunity. Addiction is a dead-end.

Rabbi Laibl Wolf,  is the Dean of  Spiritgrow – The Josef Kryss Center, Australia

Comments

One Response to “The Change Addict”
  1. Lynne Newington says:

    I can’t see me in the staus quo, I don’t need all the distractions or the changes.
    They say being in prison gives one time to reflect and good for the soul, I can’t recall where I read that, maybe Thomas Merton the contemplative.

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