Email Addiction (Emailoholism)
Can you get addicted to email? And how would that work?
It seems that human beings "need" addictions. If there is nothing else to depend on we're addicted to not being addicted. Thus "addiction" is no term that is universal and independent of time and place.
What triggers addiction?
Unfortunately, I do not know. This won't stop me from presenting some ideas, however, as I think believing something wrong is worse than saying something wrong. The latter at least provides the chance of being corrected.
Addictions seem to be in a direct connection to the meaning society (that is: we) gives to the things and substances and actions we become dependent on. If we try to explain a phenomenon like bulimia without taking a close look at the environment in which it occurs, the strange relation to and meaning of eating and how slimness is attributed we will have some problems. You may argue that bulimia is no addiction but an illness but then every addiction is an illness.
What makes people drink here and now? We live in a society that forces us to control our emotions in an extreme manner. The use (abuse?) of alcohol allows us to act emotionally and blame the circumstances (i.e. the fact that we were drunk) afterwards to justify our non-conforming behavior (we probably need that).
Of course that does not completely explain alcoholism but I think it plays a significant role.
What triggers email addiction?
Email allows us to escape the vale of tears life is. Here we can act emotionally, too. We can break conventions. Email is a very personal means of communication. We can love. We can hate. (It seems) we are loved. If we are hated, we just put the offender in our killfile.
And all that we do more or less anonymously. (Unfortunately my picture is featured rather prominently here so I'm not so prone to being loved...pitied rather.) Since it's anonymous, we can be who we want to be, we can fool the world and our selves. I guess a very interesting question in that respect is why we cannot be what we want to be in the "real" world.
Let's try to anyways. Let's get addicted to a real world with real people with real eyes and real ears and real hands and real email addresses.