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ADDICTION | Angeles Arrien, a cultural anthropologist, describes our situation this way. She says our condition is one of universal addiction. She has written that we are all afflicted with addictions, not necessarily to drugs or alcohol or other substances -- those are merely symptoms -- but we’re addicted to dysfunctional patterns of relating to each other.

She names four of these universal addictions, but let me give you just one as an example, what she calls the addiction to intensity. Here’s what she says. She says: “If things aren’t really intense, I won’t feel alive. So I’ll stir up the pot a bit more. I’ll drink more, take drugs, overdo. I’ll dramatize things. Exaggerating and indulging,” she says, “are also addictions to intensity.”

What she’s describing is what the Scriptures call our sinful condition. Needing to be noticed and to feel important, we exaggerate. Fearing we won’t have enough, we indulge ourselves. Frightened of boredom, as Dr. Arrien says, we “stir the pot.” Lest we be left out, we stage our dramas, and, if that’s not enough, we implicate others in our little plots. We intensify life, and we do it because we’re afraid. We’re afraid that, if we don’t, we won’t have what we need.

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