Bateson’s systemico-formal approach permits to understand addiction as an action that makes itself recurrent by a logic manifested in the contradictory linkages produced by the habit. These linkages express a formal contradiction that means an addictive loop. This loop can be understood as a chronic alternation whose logic is activated from two poles: on the one hand, from the will that the toxicomaniac individual has to control his ‘drug’ consumption, and on the other hand, from the common sense that means the ‘sobriety’ of everyday life. In this respect, Bateson’s approach enables to understand addiction as a trap of ordinary use, ie, as a significant trap that is expressed in the habitual action that involves ‘drug’ consumption. So, the alternation given between sobriety and inebriety means an existential intermittency in the experience of the toxicomaniac. This intermittency is given by the intervals that such individual is liable to undergo and experiment, ie, according to a systemic determinism expressed by the relation consumption / no consumption. However, the prominence of the addictive loop warns that these intervals tend to become increasingly narrow and recurrent, given the feedback and the reprogramming that the toxicomaniac makes of his addictive action. This is why addiction is no more than a logical trap. In this regard, it is needed to take into account that the toxicomaniac individual is unable to break the inertia of a logic that has feedback and reprogrammed actively the specific habit related to the consumption that such individual has been able to do of the ‘drug’. This logic means not only an organic affectation that increases the compulsive and excessive consumption ―a corrosive affectation that may be fatal―, neither means only a formal closure of the cybernetic circuit in its existential experience ―a closure that reaffirms the volition and the systematic negation of the kind of problems that the addictive action represents―. Moreover, this logic also means the partial or total destruction of the volition that gives form to its conscience, by an indifferential cancellation of the cybernetics of the self: a cancellation that can be definitive.
Additionally, it is needed to consider that this logic is not only stronger than the will of the toxicomaniac individual, but also tends to intensify the limits that give sense to his existence. That is to say that the logic extrapolates the thresholds that make livable the experience of his being-in-the-world. This extrapolation tends to cause the breakdown of all the premises that configure the knowledge learned that the toxicomaniac has been able to elaborate according to his experience. This break is a break of all the formal relations that such individual has been able to engage with the social world around him. In terms of Bateson’s systemic approach, this break constitutes the ‘experience of double bind’: this experience is a total experience that can appear instantly in the heat of a particular lived-experience, which polarizes the perception that the toxicomaniac has of the world. This experience tends to be considered negatively as a ‘psychic death’. But what does the experience of the double bind implies beyond the officialdom of these negative considerations? Following the systemico-formal approach of Bateson, the double bind experience refers that the myth of volitional action is broken by a power that is formally higher, which is to say that the myth of self is broken by the power of a systemic logic that means the environment in which the toxicomaniac develops himself as human biological system. For Bateson, in the ‘sobriety’ of everyday forms operates the structuring of a Cartesian dualism that tends to oppose the mind and the body, ie, it tends to separate the conscious will and the rest of the personality-in-the- world. For Bateson, this operation involves a retrograde mentality that sees the world in terms of a series of oppositions that chain themselves relentlessly. According to his approach, the experience the double bind is an experience that involves a break with the wrong epistemology of existence: such an experience simplifies a change that permits to know what the personality-in-the-world really does, ie, to be opened to the relational and dispositional world that the volitional action tends to block.
The experience of the double bind signs an epistemological conversion of existence: is a differential sequence that implicates a deep and complementary reorganization of the ‘character’. Once lived, once one has outlived and experimented it without getting lost in its demand, the experience of the double bind involves an escape route that reduces the stiffness and the impact of the logical contradictions that are made up in the world. Through this experience, the premises of the habit with which the individual interacts in its environment, ie, the premises whose logic goes unnoticed to the conscience ―while operating at a primary level of experience―, are finally open to question and change. This means that the experience of the double bind ―whatever the mode of reaching it might be― makes the existence of the individual to formally release from the logical servitude of his habits. For Bateson, this experience permits the individual to gradually stop weighting his person in regards to a type of learning that allows him to perceive and act in terms of the ‘context of contexts’, ie, it allows his person to stop functioning as a ‘nodal argument of his experience’. In this sense, the experience of the double bind can be seen as the experience of ‘the resolution of opposites’: experiencing it is dangerous in the sense that the experimenter can get ‘lost in the way’, ie, in a kind of psychotic or schizophrenic trance. However, it can also happen that it can be interwoven by a depersonalization in which the direct proportionality of desire would be in charge of organizing his behavior. According to Bateson, at the best, the resolution of opposites reveals a world in which the individual personality blends with all the relational processes of a vast ecology of the mind, ie, according to an aesthetic of ‘cosmic interaction’. As it is noted, some experimenters are saved from being swept by the ‘oceanic feeling’ that involves the experience of the double bind, mostly thanks to the capacity to focus in the minutiae that gives sense to their own lives, ie, thanks to a capacity in which every detail of the universe is seen as offering a view of the whole.