Why don’t people just quit smoking? Why don’t people just realize the error of their ways? Why don’t they just cut their hair and get a job? Who is asking those questions? It is the workaholic with the estranged wife and troubled children? It is very easy to find fault with others, telling others exactly what to do and how to do it. It is a completely different story when it comes to our own lives. The monkey does not understand progression, the monkey is permanently locked in the now. In order to understand the monkey’s perspective, we need to look at addiction from the limited perspective of the eternal now. For all the moments that are now, between here and now and lung failure, the monkey has had only success in pain management. For every cigarette the monkey has smoked, emotions have been numbed and pain has been avoided, the monkey has been winning. Addiction is super-efficient at temporary management of emotions. Every cigarette or beer is a success for the monkey, because it reaches its goal of numbing emotions in the now. Addiction is terrible for managing emotions in the long run, something the monkey is unable to realize. The monkey is able to repeat the sentences “Smoking is bad”, “smoking leads to disease in the long run.” The monkey is unable to comprehend their meaning. Like an English man reading a Spanish text, surely he can repeat the words well enough, although he has no concept of what he is reading.
No one smokes because they want to have smoke related disease in the future, we smoke because it feels good to not feel painful emotions right now, such as stress. The monkey repeatedly chooses instant relief over long term effort, because the concept of future is foreign to the monkey, the monkey only knows now and remembers the past. The monkey hooked up to the oxygen machine remembers all the times that smoking helped it deal with pain and how smoking even helped it when the pain was intense and so keeps smoking to ease the pain of the failing lungs caused by smoking. The monkey is unable to connect failing lungs with smoking. The monkey becomes addicted to running away from pain by any means necessary and disregards any consequences because those happen in the intangible future and not in the now. No monkey is not addicted to sticking its fingers into electric sockets, because the pain of electric shock happens in the now and not in the future.