The Genius of the Junkie Brain

Sherlock Holmes sniffs his client’s cigarette smoke while hearing of the hound of the Baskervilles. (2015, decolorized)

In the new “Sherlock” television version of “The Hound of the Baskervilles,” Sherlock Holmes demonstrates his cold calculating ability to deduce exact moments in time despite withdrawing from nicotine, demonstrating to the affable Doctor Watson that his fiendishness has no negative effect on his ability to do his work. But the work itself is fiendishness, and that is the topic which is glanced over but none-the-less at the heart of the appeal of a character like Sherlock Holmes.

We will now change gears and move into the realm of philosophy and psychology. There is a dialectical unity possible between the initial impulsive movement of the addictive impulse and reason, but in fact reason has the potential to become spirit through the addictive impulse rather than simply substance. Substantive thinking, which is to say logic which is accurate and refined, may in fact not lead the thinker to a form of being which is satisfactory to them. The oceanic feeling may evade the genius for their entire life, and this is due to the inability to sublate the initial addictive impulse which is seen as low, childlike, and antithetical to good thought.

The appeal of a thinker such as Nick Land, who talks of high tech racism, is that there is an addictive nature to the racist impulse, thus while sober academics struggle to garner an audience, Nick Land finds himself easily able to find readers even in people who violently disagree with his racist conclusions. This is due to the sublation of a true addictive impulse, simple hatred or contempt of the other.

In a similar vein, Sigmund Freud finds readers and amused onlookers in his reading of civilization as the sublimated outcome of the sexual drive and the destructive instincts. This is not due to Freud being an addict, but rather due to Freud’s ability to think with the addictive part of the brain.

That initial reason for being, the initial push that gets us interested in anything, must be carried to the acting out of the thing or else the thing is a mere simulacrum of its initial desire, mocking its original purpose.

If one feels a fiendish attraction and dreams of being in a relationship and talks of nothing but responsibility, then what was the purpose in the first place? Love is a fiend, not a tax collector. To reduce love to its proper form in marriage or property relations is to lose the initial reason for being which the formal relationship exists.

In the same vein, if one is embarking on a career, to reduce that work to simple duty removes the initial dopaminergic mechanism which makes the career worth pursuing. If you are forced into a certain line of work due to capitalism for one reason or another, this does not apply, but if you have a wide range of options for employment and one option sticks out as more appealing than the others for what seems like an illogical reason, that is to say, sticks out via a phantasmagoric notion, this is not a bad thing. This is not simply the imaginary waiting to fail, but a line which can lead you down the path to a satiated being, in other words:

“…satisfaction of the whole chap”

The Ego And His Own

To follow the strings of one’s addictive impulses is not so simple however. To attach to the addictive modes of functioning, which is to say simple drug addiction, does not provide the symbolic support necessary to create a circuit which is sustaining without the drug support. The drug support emerges as a booster for symbolic functions which are not satisfactory in themselves; that is to say, ways of living which just aren’t good enough.

To be a happy sober fiend, that is the real thing. It is possible. This does not mean you have to swear off drugs, this is not a general pitch for sobriety, but rather the expression of tuning your reason to follow the addictive impulses and creating a symbolic structure which does justice to your dopamine release system.

Can you have a crumb of dopamine? Yes you may.

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