Addiction versus Orientation | INFJ Forum

Addiction versus Orientation

Discussion in 'Psychology and MBTI' started by Satya, Apr 21, 2010.

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  1. Satya

    Satya C'est la vie
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    Both can be based on a combination of biological and psychosocial factors.
    Both can be considered a fixed condition in individuals.
    Both can be considered habit forming.
    A person can argue that either is outside of their control.
    Both can lead people to engage in harmful behaviors.

    The question is where is the difference? How do you distinguish between an addiction and an orientation?
     
  2. TheLastMohican

    TheLastMohican Captain Obvious
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    An addiction cannot be formed without exposure to the substance. An orientation can exist with no prior knowledge of the object(s) of desire.
     
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  3. Daeledin

    Daeledin <font color=#575EC1>NVs Fanboi</font>

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    The obvious response in my mind is that addiction warrants that there is a deep and crippling sense of longing for stimulus when it is absent. But I know you want more than this otherwise you wouldn't bother bringing this up. Plus a defense of that statement would also be in order.

    I'm going to forgo the defense because I honestly haven't been addicted (truly) to anything besides a certain video game. With video gaming I just can't seem to wrap my mind around a relationship with it to orientation of some sort. Unless its a desire for visual stimulus.

    Just to be more fluent I'll use my only experience with addiction: World of Warcraft.

    I've played the game on and off since it first came out. There was one period where I went a whole year and a half without touching it. But, like in true addiction style, I missed it from time to time. The final excuse to resubscribe was when I caught my brother playing it. I couldn't refuse. Is this orientation?

    For simplicity we could just label my video gaming in general an orientation. Would a specific game, no matter how re-playable, be an onset of my orientation, or just simply a fixation. I played plenty of other games in between my time with on and off WoW. If anyone ever asked I would say I was addicted to WoW, a formed habit, and not orientated to it like an innate necessity. However I'm getting dangerously close to pairing the two like one requires the other.

    My addiction was within my control. It was a matter of how long my willpower could last to manage it. If I had a true orientation one would argue that I would never be able to change it on my own. A common example of that is the defense of homosexuality that a person cannot simply change inner desires for persons of the same sex just as much as a heterosexual wouldn't change desires for opposite sex. However ex-gays and the ex-ex-gays go back and forth with this to add complexity for the public.

    Here is our problem I guess Satya. If you look at it I ended up saying that both addiction and orientation could be controlled for a certain amount of time but reverting to the previous behavior is inevitable.

    I apologize, but I'm going to bed. I can't elaborate definitively anymore. All my ideas on these two words clash and mesh with each other so they are inseparable ideas and none of them end up being right. I can't even be sure if I'm not contradicting each continuing sentence.


    So my puss-out statement would just be that an addiction can be controlled while an orientation would ideally be uncontrollable. How do I tell the difference? Maybe I can't. I have biased ideas on which should be labeled addiction and which should be labeled orientation. Anything biological would be orientation prone and anything externally would be addiction prone.
     
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    #3 Daeledin, Apr 21, 2010
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2010
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  4. OP
    Satya

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    That was the same conclusion I came to as well.

    I'm beginning to believe that it is a person's identity, by which I mean their distinct personality, that selects for their sexual orientation. That would most likely occur in early childhood, before a person is even aware of their sexuality. This is subsequently discovered during adolescence as an individual becomes aware of their identity and undergoes the sexual awakening of puberty.

    If this is the case, then it leads me to believe that certain personality traits could indicate a predisposition to homosexuality, bisexuality, etc. In other words, I wonder if personality type, to any degree, predicts for sexual orientation. Sadly, I cannot find any study that links the two.

    If that is the case, then trying to change an individual's sexual orientation has very sinister implications. It could, in effect, be the act of changing a person's personality.
     
  5. Ecton

    Ecton Community Member

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    Interesting thoughts. My response was going to be the same as TheLastMohican's.

    Without World of Warcraft, I don't think Daeldein would have been wandering around confused and unfulfilled. But with an orientation, you have this 'thing' inside you that lacks definition unless it finds one. For me that was something MBTI filled in. My 'type' is an orientation and it existed whether I ever met another person of my type, or even new what types were or had any sense of type. Thus orientation is some kind of innate drive, while addiction is dependence on external stimuli.

    Perhaps this would also be my key argument in your 'Homosexuality is just an Indulgence' thread. The term indulgence suggests a root cause in external stimuli, which I believe belittles sexuality in the human condition.

    edit: interesting convergence, I posted this before I saw Satya's post.
     
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    #5 Ecton, Apr 21, 2010
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2010
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  6. Flavus Aquila

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    Satya:

    (how) would you distinguish between orientation and instinct?
     
  7. IndigoSensor

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    This.
     
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  8. NaeturVindur

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    In general, I agree with TLM's response, adding the part of "even though one would not be aware of the orientation until they are exposed to the object of the orientation." this deals with the possible argument that homosexuals can only act homosexually if exposed to the same sex, and otherwise, they would not act so, and therefore not be so.

    However, the point of this post is to refute your post, in part. One's personality is a result of predisposition in combination with environment. Orientation is only a predisposition. Therefore, it would fall under the category of "temperament." That said, orientation would likely be mostly indipendent of other temperamental traits (other than gender disassociation, but that would probably be considered an orientation itself).

    ETA: did you ever believe that changing someone's orientation was anything other than sinister?? You're right in saying that one's orientation is an enormous part of who they, and therefore, changing it is fundamentally changing who they are.

    ETA2:
    I know this isn't directed at me, but I wouldn't, except maybe that one can choose not to act on orientation with considerable more ease than with instinct.
     
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    #8 NaeturVindur, Apr 21, 2010
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2010
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    Satya

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    That is easy. Orientation is an aspect of identity/personality whereas instinct is an aspect of behavior. In fact, this is the single most common mistake that social conservatives make in regards to viewing homosexuality and a mistake that you have made once yourself. You may recall a thread where you declared that homosexuality was stupid, when what you meant was homosexual behavior made no sense to you. Homosexuality refers to an identity, whereby a person is sexually attracted to someone of the same sex whether they choose to be or not, whereas homosexual behavior could simply be an act of satisfying sexual instinct with or without a sexual attraction to the other person.
     
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    Satya

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  11. Flavus Aquila

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    Appling the usage you have invented to fit your theory, a vegan, who has chosen not to eat meat, no matter how mouth-watering it is - is actually an omnivore by orientation (they have an attraction to meat, which they have not chosen). They are vegan simply by the act of satisfying their instinct to eat with vegetables only (with or without attraction to these vegetables).

    This seems counter-intuitive. Instinct seems to convey the sense of unconscious or un-chosen-ness; while orientation conveys the sense of conscious choice - the choice to be vegan in this example. Of course, this means that someone may be attracted to eating meat by instinct, but may choose to orientate him/herself as vegan. In which case, as a conscious choice, s/he does not suffer harm or violence to the fundamental identity of his/her person - with the exception of cases in which coercion is applies to take away the liberty in choosing one's orientation.
     
    #11 Flavus Aquila, Apr 21, 2010
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2010
  12. OP
    Satya

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    Vegetarianism is not an orientation, so I have no idea what the heck you were trying to do with that comparison. Vegetarians are people who choose to eat vegetables because of certain moral quandaries they have with killing animals, not because of a particular attraction to vegetables or meat.

    If a person makes such a choice, then how is it an orientation? If an individual from early childhood, did not find meat to be attractive, then that would be an orientation. If they find meat to be "mouth watering" then they are attracted to it, and are simply choosing not to engage in the behavior. I can't see the relevance of this comparison at all. Do you think that homosexual people find the opposite sex to be attractive?

    What I am saying is that the evidence indicates that sexual orientation develops in early childhood through a combination of biological and psychosocial factors that result in it developing alongside, and as a part of, personality. The result for homosexuals is that they feel no attraction to the opposite sex by the time they reach sexual awareness in puberty. Their sexual instinct has become satisfied by a sexual attraction to the same sex, by no choice of their own.

    For your example to be relevant, a person would have to through a combination of biological and psychosocial factors, develop an vegan orientation alongside and as a part of their personality. The result would be that by the time they were adolescents the would feel no desire to eat meat, because that particular instinct would be satisfied by vegetables by no choice of their own. There is nothing counter intuitive about it. Vegetarians simply do not evolve in this way, and so the comparison is irrelevant.

    Please clarify if I misunderstood the point you were trying to get across, but it does not seem you have understood my point at all. My theory rejects the notion that sexual orientation is either "chosen" or something that people are born with. My theory is that people had as much choice in their sexual orientation as you did in being an INFJ.
     
  13. Flavus Aquila

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    I differ in opinion to you, perhaps that is what you did not understand. You style orientation as something which is not consciously chosen. But orientation is most commonly used to describe a conscious choice, such as the decision to become vegan.

    Unconscious drives (most of which are effected by non-consciously chosen attraction), such as the desire to eat meat (even in vegans) is usually termed instinct.

    My point is, that in common usage it would be more accurate to say that those who choose to direct their actions/intent towards sexual encounters with members of the same sex are said to have a homosexual orientation, regardless of their instinctive reaction/attraction.

    Practically, in prison environments, this would mean that many men who have no attraction to other men orient themselves as homosexuals for the duration of their incarceration.

    What you speak of as occuring without conscious decision, is less ambiguously described as the sexual instinct. Some people are instinctively attracted to members of the same sex, others to the opposite, some to none (apparently). Using the term orientation for the drive or attraction which emerges non-consciously is an oxymoron. The terms "disposition" or "tendency" are more accurate.

    The crux of my objection is that people can choose their orientation, or more properly, people can orient themselves, most commonly in conformity with their dispositions/tendencies/instincts - but occasionally not in conformity with their dispositions/tendencies/instincts: the vegan who's mouth waters at the sight of meat, the sexually active male/female prisoner who is not attracted to the same sex.
     
  14. OP
    Satya

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    I have never heard orientation used to denote a conscious choice, but if that is the definition you choose for yourself, then that is fine. It has no relevance to my theory.

    You are trying to define sexual orientation as a behavior instead of as an identity. This is the same mistake in several threads back when you ignored the fact that sexual orientation refers to who a person finds attractive, whether or not they choose to act on it. Are you going to argue that a gay person is not gay if they do not engage in homosexual sex?

    There is no indication that people in such environments have any attraction to men. They simply engage in homosexual behavior, but that does not mean they are romantically or sexually attracted to those people they are having sex with. If a person engages in masturbation does that mean they are sexually attracted to their hand? Ultimately, these prisoners are simply using each other as they would their own hand.

    Sexual instinct does not select for gender. Sexual instinct is simply the desire to have sex. It can be satiated by masturbation just as easily as it can by intercourse. In fact, please define how you are using the word "instinct".

    I see no evidence to support this belief. In fact, I have a question for you which will shed light on exactly why the reasoning is weak. Could you be attracted to men in the same way that you are attracted to women? By your logic, you are saying that you can be.


    No offense FA, but you are using a very uncommon definition for orientation and instinct. In psychology they are not used in the fashion that you have seemed to adapt them to suit your own particular beliefs.
     
  15. Flavus Aquila

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    No, attraction is a function of instinct over which I have little or no control. I am attracted to women and, as far as I know, cannot be attracted by men - I have no choice in terms of the instinctual sexual attraction I experience.

    However, I have oriented (directed) my life towards solitude - this necessarily means that I have oriented my sexual instinct towards what is probably termed celibacy. So even though my instinct is one thing (attracted towards women) my orientation is towards solitude.



    I have indeed departed from recent mis-use of the term orientation. It (the term orientation) is generally used in a manner consistent with the one I am using, except in regard to sexual preference.

    You suggest that I am using these terms according to my beliefs, which I will agree to if you mean that I believe that terms should be used consistently and clearly; and that humans are self-orientating (self directing).
     
    #15 Flavus Aquila, Apr 21, 2010
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2010
  16. OP
    Satya

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    It's very difficult to discuss things when we are using different definitions for the same words.

    However, your view can be summed up as follows. People may have a biological predisposition to be attracted to the same sex, but they have the choice to orient their behavior away from it.

    That view is what I refer to as the addiction view. Just like alcoholics can have a biological predisposition to abusing alcohol, until they actually use the substance, they are not truly alcoholics. In other words, they can override their natural tendencies by choosing not to engage in a certain behavior, namely drinking.

    However, holding that view indicates to me that you have completely missed the point I am arguing. As TLM indicated, the difference between an addiction and orientation is exposure to the subject. A person cannot become addicted to alcohol until they begin using alcohol, however a person does establish their sexual preferences long before they ever begin having sex (usually in their early childhood). Sexual attraction is active whether or not you engage it with sexual behavior, but a craving for alcohol can only achieved through drinking alcohol. Regardless of whether a gay man chooses to engage in sex for the duration of his entire life, he is still gay simply because he is only attracted to the same sex. Whereas an alcoholic is only an alcoholic if he starts abusing alcohol.

    My theory expands on this difference. I recognize that what causes the differentiation of sexual preferences occurs in early childhood. It seems to develop much in the same way that personality develops. So in essence, for a gay person to "orient" themselves away from being gay would be more or less the same as you trying to "orient" yourself to being extroverted. It doesn't even make sense to try because it isn't who you are.
     
  17. Flavus Aquila

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    Or towards it.

    No. Addiction dimishes the ability of one to orient/direct one's self. Even a long-term omnivore is not addicted to meat, to the extent that he/she cannot become vegan by simple choice - and implement it. In the case of alcoholics, they may discover that they have a strong instinctual drive to consume alcohol - at which point they may find it near impossible to orient themselves towards moderation.

    *Interesting, albeit random, inferrential leap*

    It may not make sense to orient oneself away from what one is disposed by instinct to do - but it is a choice one, as a sentient being can make. Indeed, I often times use extroversion as a handy facilitating technique to open cordial negotiations. I am not as good at extroverting as someone whose instinct is to function primarily in dialogue instead of in recollected thought. The point is, however, I can be socially orientated when necessary against my innate dispositions.

    By extension, if there were some enormeous natural or artificial disaster and there were a homosexually disposed people left among the few human survivors - it would be reasonable for them to orient themselves towards (re)productive sexual activity.
     
  18. slant

    slant Sedated slanty

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    I don't know about the thing that was stated that a homosexual wouldn't be a homosexual if not exposed to the same sex.

    The only way I can make this equal sort of conclusion for asexuality is if asexuals weren't exposed to sexuality they would not be asexual? Does that seem logically valid?
     
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  19. OP
    Satya

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    FA, once again no offense intended, but you haven't made an argument here. All you have done is suggest that people can control their behavior. No duh! Just because a person can orient their behavior in a certain direction does not change their temperamental, emotional and mental characteristics. That is their identity, their personality, and it doesn't change just because a person behaves in a way contrary to it. Now if you wish to argue that identity/personality does not exist, and that people are simply a product of their behaviors, then feel free. But I would then like to know why you consider yourself an INFJ since those letters would be virtually meaningless under your logic.

    Help me if I am missing something here, but making irrelevant comparisons and arguing that sexual orientation is simply how people orient their sexual behavior, is not going to cut it.

    I don't know why you keep bringing up the vegetarian example since I have illustrated exactly why it is an irrelevant comparison. Vegetarians are people who have chosen to eat vegetables because of certain moral quandaries they have with killing animals or their personal health, not because of a particular attraction to vegetables or meat. Homosexuals are people who have an unchosen sexual attraction to the same sex whether or not they choose to engage in the behavior. Why on earth do you think these things are comparable? Are you suggesting that homosexuals have chosen their sexual attractions? If not, then stop using the example because it doesn't make any sense.

    All you have done is taken a behavior that is a choice (vegetarianism) and argue that homosexuality must be a choice because the behavior you selected (vegetarianism) is a choice. Do you not see how illogical that is? Especially since they aren't even comparable.

    Do you really think that just because both vegetarians and homosexuals are capable of controlling their behavior, that it means that both vegetarianism and homosexuality are a choice? Let's extend that logic to introversion. Do you really think that just because both vegetarians and introverts are capable of controlling their behavior, that is means that both vegetarianism and introversion are a choice? How old were you when you decided to become an introvert and a heterosexual? Did your decision to be celibate make you any less of a heterosexual? Did your decision to be more extroverted on occasion make you any less of an introvert?

    As far as alcohol, the biological predisposition is related to the amount LTW-4 protein in their system, which influences how their system absorbs alcohol and is directly related to a specific genetic locus. It has nothing to do with an instictual drive to consume alcohol, only that the alcohol is absorbed quicker and has a more stimulating effect on individuals with high LTW-4 protein when alcohol is consumed.

    That you can. When nobody is forcing you to do so, and in a society that is favorable to both extraverted and introverted individuals. And I bet you know that there are people out there who are more introverted than yourself and who under no circumstances could "orient" themselves to be as extraverted as you can "orient" yourself to be. Conversely, I'm sure you know there are people who are so extraverted that under no circumstance could they "orient" themselves to be as introverted as you are.

    Perhaps some could. It depends upon how homosexual they are, since it is unlikely that everyone holds the same degree of sexual orientation just as not everyone holds the same degree of introversion. They certainly could engage in sexual behavior if they had to even they weren't attracted to the people they were doing it with.
     
  20. Quinlan

    Quinlan Right the First Time!

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