Dealing successfully with chaos strokes your ego, increases your awareness, deepens you appreciation of everything and gives a trickle or a dump of neurotransmitters that feel pretty nice. Is there any wonder that there are adrenaline junkies out there?
The downside, of course is the nature of chaos. There is no scalar: "I am 9 units effective and this problem is 8 units bad, therefore I will win." Easy problems or at least things that should have been easy go sideways. You might be a 'ten' but I would reliably bet that you have some skills that are much lower, and you don't get to pick what skills you might need. If you play the game long enough and hard enough, you will lose.
(And here's the essence of the Chaos Game: potential infinite variety of problem faced by a nearly infinitely complex person. At one level, if skills match problem, fine. But at another level humans can develop skills in extrapolation: "I don't know jack about X, but I'm really good at Z and it's only two letters away. Can I use my Z skill for the X problem? How?" Even though your skills are finite, your ability to play with and mesh and rethink those skills approaches infinity.)
And that skill- adaptability and extrapolation- gets really addictive. You start to see problems in a different and clearer way. (There is a trap there, because almost every bad decision comes from someone who thought that they were seeing things more clearly than others.) When you see problems in this way you can solve things in a way that looks effortless. It feels effortless too and that is part of the addiction. It can spiral. There is a fine line between feeling special and feeling like an outsider.
Some very successful people glitch on that feeling and meld back into the herd or burn out. Some revel in it, and that can become another reinforcement.
Addiction has some bad connotations in our society. Rightly so IMO- dependance on anything, whether a drug, a person, or a government program is giving up a piece of your autonomy, what Kai calls agency. Anything you need from another person, any responsibility for yourself that you voluntarily relinquish is a piece of your soul that you are selling.
Chaos addiction differs because you can't delegate it. The deeper you go the more you must rely on yourself. It pushes you to be better. Depending on the level and type of chaos it forces you to focus and to relax; to be strong and determined and also flexible. It forces you not only to see your mistakes and weaknesses but to face them and fix them.
In other ways, though, chaos doesn't differ from other addictions. Like anything else, the better you get at something the more challenging the things you try to take on just like a drug it can take more and more to get the same effect. It can be hard on you mentally and physically: there are striking similarities between a thoroughly burned-out cop or paramedic and an old alky. And you can overdose. Bite off more than you can chew or get surprised when that level three problem goes sideways and it can be your body laying in the alley with half a face missing.
There are other pathologies here:
- It is rarer than you would expect, but some few create problems so that they can fix them. This almost always poisons the agency where they work.
- People who fix problems often deal with peaceful times poorly. Boredom can mimic depression. Alcoholism rates, I was once told, are the highest in cultures with a warrior ethos that are forced into peacetime.
- Complacency- the one I most battle with- Once you get really good at adaptability/extrapolation it becomes very tempting not to do your homework. There have been incidents when I had time to research or plan and just walked in trusting I could "wing it". Successful so far and I never do it when others might get hurt (he tells himself self-righteously, but there is extreme hubris in the presumption that I could know how far the chaos could ripple).