Photos by : Shawn Van Daele
Photo by: Arno Rafael Minkkinena
What is addiction? Isn´t our definition of "addiction" rather limited? Is there such thing as positive addiction, if so, is it universal and accepted?
So let´s keep to the definition given by the Medical Dictionary, which is the least limited I could find:"Addiction is a persistent, compulsive dependence on a behavior or substance."However broad or narrow a definition seems to be, it never quite captures the way language has changed over time and through different cultures. Language in its usage will shape the meaning. That's why words such as "retarded", which used to be a medical word for disabled people, have been replaced by "mentally challenged/challenged", which in fact are much more inaccurate in capturing the idea. However, when a phrase starts to get misused, it is rather thrown away than brought back to its neutral meaning, if that would even be
possible. However, the word "Addicted" has mainly negative image to it. You can talk about "addiction to chocolate" and being addicted to sport, but I hope I'm not generalising, when I say that addiction is still mainly used in a negative context. It is the context that determines how a
word will be looked upon. That's why "retarded" isn't considered a correct term nowadays.
Definitions do not shape the meaning of a word, however it does try to capture its nature. The idea of a definition is to explain its meaning, isn't it ?
When it comes to addiction, then even if it has a negative image through addiction to alcohol and drugs, is it really that one sided? According to this definition, when you are compulsively dependent on a substance or behaviour, then you can consider yourself addicted. Of course this is overly simplified, because when it comes to literally being addicted, then there are certain boundaries one needs to pass in order to be considered "addicted". How about positive addictions? There are people who are compulsively dependent on certain foods. What if you always depend on chocolate? Yes, this addiction is preferable to many others, but is it necessarily good? Just because you compare it with something worse, shouldn't make it significantly 'better'. Comparing and contrasting it with other addictions isn't always relevant.Anyone who's gone through a stressful period knows what it feels like when your body's reaction to stress is graving for food. Isn't compulsive thought about food a addiction? Bulimia, where you spend most of your time thinking about food?
I know that in our minds addiction is limited. But consider this: what if everything is an addiction. Everything we do is based on addiction.. Some people may say that if it makes you happy - do it. There's hardly ever anything wrong with being happy(unless it's just not appropriate due to for example other people's grief... that's just a social norm), so in principle we should always follow the rule - if it makes you happy, do it. But for what price? Yes, chocolate does make your senses come alive and it can boost chemicals in your brain that make you experience the magical joy. But whoever does want a long-life, healthy life without complications, knows about the need to limit themselves. Social consequences, medical consequences... is it really worth the temporary joy? Because this is what it is. It's enjoyment. It's not happiness.... At least for me, happiness is something greater. Something that last longer than a bar of chocolate. However people do define happiness differently, people look for happiness differently. So should we simplify expressions such as 'if it makes you happy, do it.' . Drugs would make people happy, but nobody wants to get addicted to them, therefore we think a bit more further ahead. However why are things like that made to be so good? Don't get me wrong.. I've never tried drugs. But a drug is sort of anything substance you get addicted to.. Therefore, is life trying to deceive us? So what about being addicted to happiness? That's something we all seem to be... we all look for factors that would make us happy. Whether it's wrongly thought to be money, a certain admirable lifestyle or simply doing what you love the most. Happiness is the driving force behind everything. One gentlemen reminded me of a quotation which has been stuck in my head ever since :
"Happiness is only real when shared"
However, the happiness itself is relatively difficult to achieve. I'm developing a theory(i hope not to plagiarise as this came to my mind just now), according to which happiness is the ultimate goal. However, people try to achieve it through their other addictions. We try to be temporary happy through our addiction to chocolate, alcohol and drugs. Drugs, which will make you overwhelmed. That's where the word ecstasy comes from, doesn't it? The message that I'm trying to deliver is that it might be so that we are actually addicted to happiness and we do everything to achieve it. Addictions overlapping in order to get something greater.However those things are always for the reader to decide. It's not up to anybody else to decide what is "right" or "wrong", if there even is a "right" or "wrong"