“Addictions … started out like magical pets, pocket monsters. They did extraordinary tricks, showed you things you hadn’t seen, were fun. But came, through some gradual dire alchemy, to make decisions for you. Eventually, they were making your most crucial life-decisions. And they were… less intelligent than goldfish.” – William Gibson
For me this quote speaks to the nature of addictions and how they evolve in an individual's life.
"started out like magical pets, pocket monsters."-
This part of the quote suggests that addictions, when they first manifest, might seem exciting, harmless, or even beneficial. For some, the initial experience with an addictive substance or behavior might be thrilling and seem like a secret power or a hidden treasure.
"They did extraordinary tricks, showed you things you hadn't seen, were fun."-
Here, the quote emphasizes that in the beginning, addictive substances or behaviors can be seductive. They might introduce a person to new sensations, feelings, or experiences that are pleasurable or enlightening.
"But came, through some gradual dire alchemy, to make decisions for you."-
Over time, the initial allure of the addiction fades, and the person becomes more dependent on the addictive substance or behavior. The "gradual dire alchemy" is the slow and often unnoticed transformation from voluntary usage or engagement to involuntary compulsion. The addiction begins to exert more control over the individual's choices, behaviors, and life.
"Eventually, they were making your most crucial life-decisions."-
This accentuates the severe consequences of addiction. It's not just about the smaller decisions anymore, like whether to use or not. The addiction now influences or determines major life choices – perhaps where someone lives, who they associate with, their job, their health decisions, and more.
"And they what does this mean? were .. less intelligent than goldfish.”-
The ending is a poignant reminder that while these addictions might control major decisions, they're not doing so with the person's best interests in mind. Comparing them to being "less intelligent than goldfish" emphasizes the mindlessness and destructiveness of addiction. A goldfish operates on basic instincts without forward-thinking or comprehension of complex consequences. Similarly, an addiction doesn't "care" about the individual's well-being, future, or overall life quality.
From my perspective, the quote paints a vivid picture of the journey of addiction, starting as something seemingly benign or even positive, but over time, becoming a dominating and destructive force in a person's life.