In the Scientific American article “Television Addiction is No Mere Metaphor“, the authors provide this metaphor:
Perhaps the most ironic aspect of the struggle for survival is how easily organisms can be harmed by that which they desire. The trout is caught by the fisherman’s lure, the mouse by cheese. But at least those creatures have the excuse that bait and cheese look like sustenance. Humans seldom have that consolation. The temptations that can disrupt their lives are often pure indulgences. No one has to drink alcohol, for example. Realizing when a diversion has gotten out of control is one of the great challenges of life.
Here are two science fiction books that look at the danger of people allowing themselves to be controlled by “that which they desire”.
Dictatorship by brute force and terror versus dictatorship by providing “that which we desire”. Neil Postman does a brilliant job comparing the two by looking at “1984” versus “Brave New World”.
“Dirge: Book Two of The Founding of the Commonwealth” by Alan Dean Foster
Much lighter in tone than “Brave New World”, the author does an excellent job of pointing out the dangers of blind desire.
Note: “Phylogenesis: Book One of The Founding of the Commonwealth” has a different thesis, but I would also highly recommend it as a fun and uplifting read.