The fundamental principle of addictions:

What is an addiction? How do you become addicted, and how do you avoid it!

Addictions are one of the biggest problems that our society is facing.  We find people addicted to electronic games, TV, books, computers, drugs, and more.  It seems like anything that people can enjoy has a potential to make people an addict.  The question is, ‘What is addiction?’  According to Wikipedia, addiction is traditionally defined as a ‘physical and psychological dependence on psychoactive substances’.  This means that if we enjoy anything too much and become attached to it, we would be addicted to it.  On the other hand, if someone is enjoying many different activities, a person would be less likely to being addicted to one.  It is understandable that addictions come very slowly at the beginning thus, it is not noticeable.  However, when the addiction becomes noticeable, it spirals out of control in an accelerated rate.  This is because in order to continue to enjoy one activity, many other activities had to be removed from the list.  For example, if someone is enjoying electronic games and becoming addicted, he/she has to reduce time to meet other people, time to read, or time to play sports.  As they limit their other activities, the person would become even more dependent on electronic games.  This is like a snow ball rolling down a hill getting bigger and bigger in an alarming way.  Then, next question would be – ‘Why do people become addicted?’

External stimulus to think

As mentioned in the article ‘key to the joyful life,’ humans are designed to think naturally.  This is why we find young children asking countless questions starting as early as four years of age.  These children stimulate their brain to think by asking questions.  Over time, children start to lose this ability.  Since these children need to think, they are finding alternative activities to satisfy this mental stimulation such as reading books, playing sports, playing electronic games, or chatting with family members or friends.  For example, when people play sports, they constantly think of how to respond and what to do.  Because sports provide time to think and thinking fulfills our need of joyful play, people feel great afterwards even though their body is sore and sometime painful due to some injuries.  The thinking process that these activities provide is not just simple thinking as we normally do randomly.  Instead, these activities provide a series of thinking by making connections.  One great example is books; well written books are easy and fun to read because all the materials inside of the story are connected to each other.  This implies that humans enjoy activities that provide a series of thought-processes that are connected.  In other words, connections in stories stimulate our brain to think and because thinking is an enjoyable “play” for human, we enjoy the activities.  This is clear when we look at activities as a whole.  Many activities seem to be very different from each other but, fundamentally they are the same – providing people a series of ‘thinking’ by making connections.  Some people like many different activities, some like only one or two activities based on their physical, economical, or emotional status.  In any cases, addiction begins when one starts to rely on one activity as the sole stimulation for thinking.  However, it is a little different for drug addiction.

Drug addiction

Drugs do the very same function as other activities in terms of ‘making people think’.  But unlike other activities, drugs force our brain to be connected chemically.  As mentioned above, we enjoy the time to think by making connections.  Drugs force our brain to be connected chemically thus making it seem enjoyable.  As mentioned above, if all the materials in a book are connected, it stimulates our brain to think and become connected.  In reverse order, sometimes when people are drugged, they could write music, stories, or draw unexpected well because their brain is forced to be connected by these chemicals.  One of the biggest problems of drug addiction is that chemicals destroy the brain, ultimately leading to death with high doses.  There is also another side effect.  Since it is the chemicals that make connections and because the chemicals don’t last long, the brain is being disconnected over time.  When this happens, they would be suffering from fear.  Since the thinking by making connections is the most “joyful play” for human, people feel the exact opposite – the fear, when they are losing the freedom to think.  For the people under influences, the connections in their brain made by drugs are being broken too fast as concentration of the chemicals drops.  This means that stronger drugs would have stronger impact not only by damaging the brain but also generating fear.  Then, the last question would be – ‘Are there solutions?’

Education – the fundamental solution for everything

Education seems to be a solution since we can find many educational materials for each of the addiction cases.  There are also many organizations that provide great help for people suffering from addictions.  However, the education as a solution in this case is not the same as the ones we have.  As stated in the article ‘the fundamental principle of education’ and ‘delivering concepts?’ published in ‘Education’ session by PonderEd, education is to help people to learn by making connections.  When people learn by making connections, they would enjoy the time to think and learn at the same time.  This means that people will enjoy the time that all the connections are being made just like playing electronic games, reading books, playing sports, or doing drugs.  However, ‘being connected’ by educators means that learners are still depending on external stimuli.  This means that unless learners learn how to make connections by themselves, they are still vulnerable where they could be addicted to something.  In other words, learners have to learn ‘how to learn’ or ‘how to explore’ by themselves.  This is why many educators agree that the role of educators are not teaching students but helping students to learn.  Thus, only the education that helps learners to learn ‘how to make connections’ would be the fundamental solution to the problems like addictions but not limited to the addictions.