Forrest Ye's Blog

Connecting the dots

Smoking and Quitting

How long must you have managed not to light up a single cigarette can you consider yourself successfully gotten rid of the addiction to smoking? One month? Three months? Or a year?

For me, as a self-identified soft-core smoker, only one month into forcing myself not to smoke, already have I started to notice a lot of interesting things happening around me.

For a starter, I begin to notice that people are smoking everywhere. Every single one of them. Every single burning cigarette within my eyesight, with every hand holding it. Even the butts on the ground caught my attentions as well. And all the no-smoking signs. And all the ashtrays, in public places or not.

It is quite interesting actually, a bit similar to the effects of weed smoking, but instead of being able to focus on whatever you wanted to see, you only see cigarettes. I don’t know for sure, but maybe a better analogy is when you are so horny all you see is just boobs and naked skins and short skirts. Our brain is such a fascinating device.

My body is telling me that it crave for cigarettes, or more accurately, nicotine. Feeling compelled to do things is not a happy experience. As mortal human, we have already submitted ourselves to the necessity of daily dose of foods and sleep, to be added up with occasional urges of to work, to spend money, to talk to people and to engage in sexual activities. We could argue whether or not we need any more of these mental and physical burdens, to such extent that we create and cast more and more upon ourselves. Can you imagine yourself living without electricity? Without hot water? Without Internet access? To have desires is healthy, to want something new or different is understandable and can be encouraged, but what about to have addictions that we normally or naturally don’t need?

People generally wanted to be free. We improved our technologies on growing foods so the majority of us can be freed from being forced to stay in the field all day, we invented telephones and the Internet so we can be freed from waiting a long time for mail responses and enduring difficulties to access to knowledges, we subverted evil regimes so we can be freed from mandate taxes and bullshits forcefully posed upon us. Our flesh so fragile that we cannot endure the pressure of hundreds of meters under water, yet we’ve sent men to the deepest corners of the oceans with a depth of one hundred times more; metal is more than one thousand times heavier than air, yet we’ve built machines using these stardusts that can carry us up into the air and across the seas.

Occasional smoking is good and relaxing, and it helps you gain and maintain focus during work. Most important characters in Ayn Rand’s books smoke. As a man-worshipping reason-loving atheist, Ayn Rand’s notion that smoking as a symbol of the power of man being able to control fire in finger tips makes much sense to me. But being forced to do so regularly really bugs me. Caffeine too, with it we enjoy a boost of productivity, but without it we fell deeply into a state of grumpy rapidly. Why, don’t we have choices? So is there really such a thing as freewill? Or are these addictions a price we need to pay in order to fully enjoy the advancements we’ve achieved? Can we take off our helmets while conquering the stars and galaxies? Can we?

Being alive is a very unnatural state of existence, since we weren’t born before we arrived in this world as a conscious creature, and we will be dead and remain dead after only a couple of years of living. Time is short, maybe I should not worry so much, so long as I know I love to read books and write down random pseudo-intellectual thoughts such as this, so long as I enjoy a lot reading and writing codes, so long as I understand that there are people to love and things to hate, so long as I see there are so much to learn that perhaps one million lifetimes are not enough, so long as I believe there are a lot to fight for and fight against and I am willing to do that, maybe I should just yield to this seemingly tiny issue?

Or maybe I will never yield.

Should I?