When I saw the Science Short for today, I couldnít help remembering an occasion when I took a nitroglycerine pill just to see what would happen. I was in my early twenties. An older friend had just popped one and I asked him what it did for him. In answer, he offered me one. Bad idea! Donít try it! One thing I learned was that the effect of nitroglycerine on the body is immediate. I got a roaring headache that lasted for several hours. As a result, Iíve never been tempted to take another one.
Unfortunately, not all of the bad ideas we have give us such immediate feedback. There are many dangerous substances we might try which give a fairly pleasant immediate effect. The negative consequences only come along later. Without being extreme, look at what abusing sugar can do to a healthy body, or polysaturated fats, or caffeine, not to mention the "bad" substances. Thereís no instant unpleasant outcome, so we keep going back, doing ever more damage to our bodies until we have major problems which require major medical intervention.
Once a pattern is established, we can easily come to depend on whatever it is that gives us pleasure or comfort. It becomes a habit. Once we reach that stage, reason goes out the window and we follow our conditioned response even though we "know" it is bad for us Ė maybe even killing us.
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