Addiction at a societal level is a different condition than addiction at an individual level. They are not understood in the same way and they have different types of effects. The primary difference between addiction at an individual level and addiction at a societal level is how they are acknowledged. For example, if one member of a family is struggling with alcoholism while no one else in the family is, it tends to be very obvious that the one person has a problem and needs to make changes to their lives. On the other hand, when society embraces a popular trend together as one, who is going to hold society accountable when the trend turns into an addiction?
Society’s dependence on technology is the perfect example of a societal trend turned addiction. Technology has always been a source of pride and competition to people. The nations that use more advanced technologies are considered more developed, and emerging technologies are frequently created under the pressure of competition, as there is prestige in being the first to invent something. We take immense pride and pleasure in our personal technology as a society. The problem there in is that we deny as a society that we are addicted to technology due to our collective unwillingness to separate from it. Group denial can be much more dangerous than individual denial.
When a society cannot recognize that it has an addiction to something, the society will become unsustainable and will experience a collapse. Addiction to money is what caused the recession of 2007, addiction to food is what has made the United States the most obese country on earth and the most prone to heart disease, and addiction to technology is having similar effects on North American society. We are becoming physically lazier as we rely on technology more and more, we are becoming more distant from one another as we focus more heavily on our relationship with technology than on our relationships with one another, and we are hurting the environment with the carbon emissions that unsustainable technology creates. If we do not rethink the role that technology is meant to play in our lives, our society will experience yet another collapse.