Beginning With Fire
The Story of Addiction, Human Nature, and Evolution
Chapter One — Enchantments
Every addiction begins with a transformation of the experience of self that seems wondrous at the time. This chapter presents four examples of such transformations.
- » A prehistoric cave-dweller is ecstatically inducted into pyromania.
- » A hundred thousand years later, in a cemetery in Iowa under the first full moon of summer, a young man, eventually the author of this book, finds his deepest yearnings miraculously fulfilled through the expedient of several cans of illicit beer.
- » In contrast with the first two vignettes, a young woman solves a very different version of the problem of self. Rather than ecstasy, alcohol provides her with an experience of inner sanctuary; of stoic indifference to the unrelenting abuse and hardship in her life.
- » An awkward, self-conscious fourteen-year-old discovers that he can, through the agency of a controversial video game, experience himself as a being endowed with supernatural powers, sexual and social potency, exemption from moral constraints, and immortality.