Addiction to Artificial Perfection

May 3, 2010

    In our society today, we have a susceptibility to want to fix everything that's physically wrong with us.  We buy hair care products, face soap, tanning lotion, acne cream, Crest Whitestrips, shaving cream, coverup, etc.  Over $10 billion is spent annually for plastic surgery, in the US alone.  If we have a toothache, we rush for the first available appointment with the dentist.  If we have trouble falling asleep, we investigate the plethora of prescription and nonprescription drugs that can help us.  While many of these things are beneficial, and can greatly improve our quality of life, a lot of them are unnecessary.  Some are simply gimmicks that we buy into, and then come to depend on.  At times, this dependency, or addiction, can have serious consequences for either our health, our lifestyle, or our self image.
    One example of this dependency dilemma is how many people have turned to drugs such as Adderall or Ritalin to help them focus.  I think concentration is a challenge for everyone, especially while doing something you aren't particularly interesting in.  But people not diagnosed with ADHD have been getting a hold of these medications to enhance their focusing abilities.  It is especially prevalent on college campuses, as students cram for tests and assignments.  While these students may be getting their homework done more efficiently, they're also missing out on the important self discipline of teaching yourself how to study and how to concentrate, without artificial means. 
    The force that is driving this addiction is the technology we now have to solve so many of our health problems.  In an age where we can cure many diseases, determine the sex of our children, and see inside our own brains, it is impossible not to want to utilize these advances. 
The next example shows how much potential there is for technology to still benefit us.

Stanford scientist Steve Quake was only the fifth person in the world to have his entire genetic code -– his genome — spelled out last summer. Now he claims to be the first to use it to find out just what diseases he's at risk for, and what he should do about it.

  While technology is an amazing thing that benefits so many, it also creates a moral dilemma that we have to think about: where does medicine cross the line in becoming too unnatural? 




I agree with your post about

Submitted by marissa on Tue, 2010-05-04 00:03.

I agree with your post about medicine taking too large a role in our lives. This post reminds me of several of the books we read in english class this year: Fahrenheit 451, Brave New World, and 1984. Each of these books take place in the future. In Fahrenheit 451, Mildred has her stomach pumped after taking too many drugs. In Brave New World, the characters take a drug called Soma that calms them and takes their brain on vacation. They are taught from birth that this is a normal way to deal with stress and that pursuit of pleasure is the most important thing. Although these books were written a long time ago, a lot of the predictions have come true. It makes me wonder if this is the direction society is going, where hallucinogenic drugs are socially acceptable for everyday use.

 Jess Great post! You

Submitted by Rosie on Tue, 2010-05-04 01:06.


Great post! You brought up a lot of important issues many of us face and will face in the future. In particular your comments about how we rush to the doctor or pharmacy as soon as there is slightest problem reminded me of the change in health care. One of the reasons it became so expensive was because people were overusing the system and then using their insurance to pay for unnecessary procedures. This drove up the price of insurance and even the most common medical test. I agree with you that there needs to be a balance between how much medicine we use. It has great potential to cure some of the most dangerous diseases,  but also can be used for the wrong reasons.  We need to find a way to decrease dependency on medicine, unless we really need it.  Thanks for your post. It connected a lot of different things we have talked about.