The monkey does not understand the logic of delayed reaction and delayed gratification. The monkey associates non-smoking with intense discomfort and is simply unable to imagine a comfortable life without smoking. The monkey is unable to utilize the imagination, only the human can do that, only the human can imagine a healthy life free from smoking; only the human can utilize the imagination in a productive manner. When the monkey uses the imagination, it projects its current feelings into the future, if the monkey is afraid right now, all imaginable future scenarios will be full of fear, fear of loss cigarettes, unemployment, loneliness, pain and death. Only the human mind can imagine a future beyond the current emotions, the human mind imagines a future of physical strength while toiling with heavy weights at the gym in the now. Unless the disease happens with the first cigarette the monkey will not make the connection between smoking and disease, rather the monkey will make the connection between smoking and well being, being without painful emotions.
Emotional pain, such as boredom and stress, together with underdeveloped alternative coping skills and low blood sugar levels are the building blocks of the coping mechanism known as addiction. Boredom is not so bad when we first start to feel it, it grows progressively and exponentially until our entire being is filled with energy that needs to be released and we cave in. Some symptoms of low blood sugar are: mood changes, nervousness, headache, hunger, shaking, dizziness and difficulty concentrating. When we smoke a cigarette, the body releases into the bloodstream the sugar and fat reserves it has in store and stabilizes the blood sugar levels. Smoking works as a hunger suppressant and smokers can attest to the fact. Addiction is a very efficient way for the monkey, without the mind’s conscious consent, to deal with the pain that the mind refuses to acknowledge and deal with. Addiction is not rational, it is like using a cheese grater to scratch a mosquito bite, the problem of the itch is quickly solved, and soon we will have the problem of open festering wounds. Addiction is rational within its own irrationality. The monkey solved the problem of nicotine withdrawal efficiently and was unable to predict further problems such as disease and addiction. The monkey acts on emotions, it only wanted the itch scratched and was unable to predict the long term consequences of skin damage, it wanted to still the cravings for nicotine and was unable to predict the amplified pain and progression of addiction. The monkey is not enjoying the tar clogging the lungs or the nicotine wreaking the nerve endings, the monkey is barely aware of those things as it is merely tolerating those effects because what really brings the monkey pleasure about the cigarette is the relief of emotional pain. The damage to nerve endings and tar build up are so slow and gradual, that we are unable to realize what is happening, it progresses just like the addiction progresses until one day, often too late, we realize what has been happening. Sometimes we wake up and it is too late, and sometimes we wake up in time and can put out the fire. With smoking the painful emotions get numbed and the monkey doesn’t feel them for a while. There is no harm in that, rationalizes the monkey.