By Oswald Sobrino, J.D.; M.A. (Econ.); M.A. (Theo.); M.L. (Master of Latin), doctoral student, University of Florida.

Monday, January 21, 2013


This post is another in my off-and-on series on interesting Latin words that I come across in a semester of reading several Latin authors. Today's Latin word is "addictus" from the Latin verb "addico." If you look it up, here are some of the meanings (with sources) that I came across: "bound, pledged" (Cassell's); "enslaved, doomed" (Whitaker's); "one who has been given up as servant to his creditor" (Lewis & Short).

Wow. An addict is enslaved and doomed. His or her happiness and well-being depend on another. Wise teachers have told us that the key to happiness and peace is not to allow ourselves to be addicted to anyone or anything. The dictionaries reflect that wisdom.

People in search of romantic love (that means most human beings!) have to be very careful here. The goal is to transform the addictive phase of early attraction into a genuine love that uplifts both parties. The path to that healthy love is to allow freedom to each other, a freedom to return to each other voluntarily and without pressure: the freedom of non-addiction. Thus, ironically (so much that is true seems to be ironic or, maybe better said, nuanced), we must "detach" ourselves in order to be in a permanent and healthy relationship. Maybe, that intelligent distance is what another generation long ago called "chastity" between the sexes in both the narrower and broader sense of the term.

(Image in Public Domain: slave from Pompeii via Wikimedia Commons)