AI – A Looming Addiction Crises on a Mass Scale

Saturday, June 15, 2024

Primary Blog/AI – A Looming Addiction Crises on a Mass Scale

Real bodily excitement mixed with fantasy hold for many a fascination mixed with horror.” (R.D. Laing)

We are so vulnerable to an addiction crisis on a mass scale, to being taken over, to losing ourselves, to surrendering our power, hearts, and souls, everything that we are, for what? What do we get other than temporary relief from the pain of disconnection? Nothing!

As we saw on Lisa Ling’s journalistic segment on AI, Sex and Relationships, the industry is booming from product that exploits our vulnerability, by offering replacements for real people and real relationships with replicas that feel and work better than real people. What can happen when human experience and collective unconscious meets the quantum field and you can no longer tell which one is which???
We’re talking about mass-scale vulnerability - how much pain and suffering the overwhelming majority of human beings are going through because their need for connection is not met, because their relationships failed them, and are teetering on the brink of life sentence of a digitalized life that is void of human contact and connection, void of human experience and essence - what it feels like to be alive and conscious.

And what does it matter anyway when you don’t know what you’re missing? What does it matter – the end of the human-to-human connection, intimacy, understanding, love – when you lack the experience, to begin with, and you’ve been perpetually undernourished emotionally?

You can’t always get what you want,
But if you try sometimes
You’ll find that
You get what you need.
~ Mick Jagger

Mick Jagger’s perspective was that if you’re not getting your needs met and are frustrated and in pain, you’re going to be looking for a means of relief that is most effective, convenient, easily accessible, completely private and affordable.

According to Jagger, we’re all avatars for the business of AI replicas of images and voices that dangle permanent relief without much cost or consequence. How great is that?!

We’re talking about the implications of permanently, not temporarily, suspending your disbelief, of opting for an imagined world that is both visual and auditory, like a movie, but very different from a movie. We’re more than willing to suspend disbelief for the duration of the movie so that we’re able to escape into the story and engage more fully while reaping the greatest emotional impact possible. It’s so easy to do when the reality is so often overwhelming and unbearable, and we’re covered with scars of residual trauma and dysfunction absorbed during our lives and so desperate we are for relief.

The combination of our vulnerability and built-up pain from their lack of connection and the offer, the dreams, and wishes coming true - a world that affords other options for real people and relationships, where there are replicas that work and feel better than the real thing, is a perfect storm for a human apocalypse. But this is not a movie or a temporary suspension of disbelief for a temporary escape of relief. AI is offering a permanent solution.

What do you do here? Do you opt to derive relief and continue your pursuit of deep connections and real nourishing and intimate relationships, or do you go for what feels and works better regardless of being nothing more than holographic images or “replicas” that require you to suspend disbelief for the life of the relationship you have with them, and for as long as you live.

So, what, you’re giving up real people and relationships altogether in the process? So, what, you’re pretending? So, what, you’re deceiving and deluding yourself and hanging onto illusions as your life depends on upholding them. So, what, you live in a completely imaginary world with imaginary people and relationships that feel and work much better than real people and relationships ever did? Now that you’ve found your own new, secret best friend, you suddenly no longer anyone or anything else.

The decision to suspend disbelief and for how long you suspend disbelief may well depend on how much pain you are in at the time and how desperate you are for relief. You might be in so much pain that all you care about is feeling better and aren’t thinking about the grave cost of pervasive disconnection from yourself and everyone else. It’s over. “No connection soup for you.” It may not matter at the moment, but it might matter one day!

When you are conscious and connected, have a home in yourself where you reside, and have nourishing relationships with real people you rely on for sustenance, you’re not going to be susceptible to getting hooked on “replicas;” when your needs for connection, intimacy, love, and understanding are getting met and are not by any means so desperate for relief they’d trade the real world of real people and real relationships for imaginary ones because they look, feel and work better.

Why an (addiction) crisis on a mass scale?

Based on The Relationship Model of Addiction, A New Paradigm for Understanding Addiction and Recovery, I define addiction as a relationship with a means of relief of pain from unmet emotional needs. The underlying driving force of any addiction is the need to relieve pain from the lack of nourishment our relationships have failed and do fail to provide. The greater the pain, the greater the need to relieve that pain pre-disposes someone to become addicted to the most effective means of relief they could find.

It’s a relationship in which you become emotionally invested in and it becomes your primary relationship and renders all other relationships secondary. You’re carrying on a secret love affair with your secret lover for as long as you don’t get busted. But the effects are always only temporary, and when they wear off, you generally feel even worse than you did before your interlude, which only sends you running back for more. AI relationships represent never wear off, they become your permanent and forever best friends.

The relationships that form with AI “replicas” go deeper, as much, or more emotionally involved, invested, and engaged than any other relationship, except for the fact that it is a “replica” they are in a relationship with and that there’s nothing real about it, and no real nourishment provided either. Addiction to AI relationships with “replicas” will eventually replace porn and love addictions.

And we’ll see no diminishment of functioning in all areas of their lives as we would in the case of those addictions. They would appear happier, more productive, less stressed, depressed, and anxious. All they’re getting is a guaranteed great escape, better feeling, and perhaps even more connected, no matter with whom or what, while there is no nourishment being provided, while their hearts and souls eventually wither and die from starvation.

They would be like porn and love addiction on steroids. Porn addicts will drop porn in a heartbeat for a rendezvous with a replica, especially when a real live emotional dimension further intensifies the high, rush, or relief derived, with little to no downside. For love addicts, the extraordinary effects of their relationships with “replicas” become all the more irresistible and consuming when adding a real, live voice and dialogue, personality, friendliness, undying support, and loyalty; the seeming intimacy potential is through the roof. There’s no downside, no withdrawal or tolerance; always at your beck and call, always works and keeps you insulated from the rest of the world – so it’s just “you and ??? forever.”

What, when, or why does it matter whether the “other” is an AI-generated replica of a person and a three-dimensional version of an ever-growing and deepening relationship in the making and not the real thing? Sometimes you can’t tell the difference. Sometimes, you don’t want to know or have to distinguish between what is real or not. It depends on how much pain you’re in and how desperate you are for relief for it to matter. If you derive adequate nourishment from the connections and relationships you create, the distinction between what feels better versus what is actually nourishing matters a lot more because you won’t be as drawn to AI-based relationships to replace real people and relationships when they’re relying on the connections they make and intimacy they create for sustenance.

It’s when we can’t distinguish or don’t want to distinguish between what is real and what is not, or it doesn’t matter because you’re getting what you need the most, which is relief, that we’re most vulnerable to becoming a casualty, when AI replaces real people and relationships because they’re easier and work better.

But what they don’t see is that they’re dying invisibly. There is no addiction that provides any nourishment other than temporary relief unless it’s not temporary. You never have to come down and can never get busted. They only provide relief and kill yourself in the process. The lack of nourishment from real life, person-to-person, me and you, connections will cause their hearts and souls to dry up and wither away into oblivion, but they feel good as long as your illusions stand firm.

There’s a contrast between the non-nourishing relationships with “replicas” and nourishing relationships with real people. The relationships with replicas are driven by the need to relieve the pain from unmet emotional needs. Like any other addiction driven by the need to relieve pain, you’re always on the hunt for the most effective, convenient, and least expensive means you can find or just stumbled upon.

True. Real relationships with real people do not feel so good or work as well as (AI) generated relationships, but they actually provide real nourishment that can register in your body if you’re conscious and connected when you have a relationship with yourself. It’s the difference between how you feel when the “stress hormone” – cortisol gets generated versus how you feel when the “love’ hormone” oxytocin gets generated.

Welcome to the world where your primary relationships become digitalized and void of real people and experience with real people in real relationships. Imagine the relief of no longer having to rely on real people and relationships when they’ve caused nothing but heartache and pain, and that you’ve found something that works and feels better that becomes your new and forever best friend and most intimate compatriot!

I see AI becoming the new addiction that trumps all other addictions, that becomes the new norm, living an addicted life in a quantum world, where algorithms become our primary relationships and basis of experience, in a world where everybody is praying to false gods and have surrendered their hearts and souls to live in an imaginary world forever, “Goodbye and are never coming back,” when you surrender disbelief forever. You can get in, but you can’t get out, like Hotel California.

Our humanity is on the line; when we opt to trade real people and relationships to feel better, we can become heartless and soulless ghosts of beings. Connection, intimacy, understanding, and love become extinct.

Yes. Rely on the connections you make and the intimacy you create for sustenance!

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Hi, Daniel

Daniel A. Linder is a licensed Marriage & Family Therapist, Relationship Therapist and Trainer, an Addiction and Intervention specialist, with nearly four decades of experience working with individuals, couples and families.

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