With the smoking habit rooted in the subconscious mind, life becomes a means to be defined by the ends of the habit. For the heavy drinker the meaning of life becomes not drinking as we might imagine, the meaning of life is hangover management for the heavy drinker. This does not mean that the drinker enjoys the pain and agony of the hangover and it does it not mean that there is a conscious decision to actively make life revolve around the hangover. The hangover is not the aim of drinking, it is an unwanted consequence of it. No one consciously chooses to have a hangover. Without knowing it, the drunkard finds himself spending a disproportionate amount of time managing hangovers and the most effective short term means of managing a hangover is to drink more. For a drinker life becomes what happens between drinking sessions. It is rational within its own irrationality. For the smoker life becomes what happens between smoke breaks. Nothing is as important as the cigarette. Smoking occupies a disproportionate amount of time and thought power for the smoker and interrupts most of the daily activities and a huge amount of thought and attention are directed towards the smoking habit, the management of nicotine withdrawal and the constant lack of energy.
Smoking has, for all intents and purposes, become the meaning of life and everything we do, we do in between cigarettes. How can we make this statement? We just observe our behaviour from a neutral perspective, the thing we do the most of and think about the most is the meaning of life. This is one the great paradoxes of human behaviour, while holding a cigarette in one hand we are able to gesticulate our condemnation of the smoking habit. What we say and what we feel are not in concert and this doesn’t get any clearer than when we smoke despite our disgust with smoking. There was no conscious choice to make smoking the meaning of life, we just let the monkey take charge and the subconscious mind has learned the behaviour of the monkey. The subconscious mind is learning and does not pass judgement on what it learns, it doesn’t understand the harmful effects of smoking or drinking. It just learns and repeats. This repetition combined with the monkey’s lack of long term vision and obsession with avoiding pain in the moment, translates into us waking up one day hooked up to an oxygen machine wondering what went wrong. This is what religion is about in a nutshell: to cultivate the habit of morally just behaviour and not allowing the monkey to take control. Morally just behaviour, is just another word for not bad, or just good behaviour. The only time doing something 20-60 times a day that can give positive long term effects is showing through our actions someone we love that we love them 20-60 times a day.
Smoking does not cause instant long term negative health effects, and if we happen to belong to the lucky few, we can smoke for the rest of our lives and not develop cancer, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, impotence, premature birth or any of the unholy effects of smoking. We can also win the lottery. In fact we can live full, healthy, happy lives as a smokers* and not experience any of the adverse health effects of smoking that we are told about by the anti-smoking propaganda. We still need to deal with the problem of the terrible smell that no amount of chewing gum, showering or perfume can fix. Otherwise we’re good.
*Remember how smoking is about managing emotions? If a person were truly happy then why would that person need to smoke? Is it because the happiness is too intense and that person needs to be brought down before exploding with pure joy?