Written by Kyu Park
I am a Coca Cola addict. Coke has been the main source of my hydration for nearly a decade. By average I consume 4 cans a day. This is an improvement, actually, from the freshman year’s half gallon every day. I tried to trace the beginning of this addiction, but I failed to identify its cause. I thus concluded that it is my natural inclination towards coke that made it a part of my lifestyle. I now accept my passion for coke without shame.
Upon hearing from several people that I must be a coke addict, I looked up the dictionary definition of addiction. According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, addiction is “an unusually great interest in something or a need to have something”. The keyword is unusual. It is a trait that deviates from the normal. Addiction is a unique form of love towards something that could even define an individual. Anything one is willing to give up a certain degree of control for, could be an object of addiction. The addiction that I will focus on this article, however, are addictions that are formed from personal inclinations. I will put aside addictions regarding chemical dependency since such addictions could be applied to any human body, and has little correlation with the individuality that I would like to discuss.
Most people are afraid to admit that they are addicted to anything. Addiction has such a negative connotation that any association with it seems to show a defect of character. Addictions hint lack of self control, and such trait is frowned upon. People also have a strong desire to be autonomous. To never lose self, one is never crazy about anything. Instead, one simply ‘likes’ something. The mere preference of something is trivial compared to craze. Individuality is blurred in the blandness of sanity. The collective will of each individual to be completely sane has created a society that is insanely dull.
The compensation for such normality is complete control over one’s life. Under such conditions, one feels peculiarly insecure towards the moments of lost control. However, is perfect control in our lives what we strive for? I would disagree. A perfectly controlled person is closer to a systematic robot than a human. When designing systems in engineering, whether every elements in a system could be controlled is an integral factor of the system’s functionality. One needs to know the machine’s limitations and purpose to achieve such degree of control. But people do not have bound limits or set purposes. Total controllability is for systems, not for humans. A systematic individual who desires to control everything, is ironically losing self(individuality) for control of self.
There are times that we choose to lose certain degrees of control. It could be through travel, alcohol, or books. Although these moments are pleasant, they are temporary. What we want to find in our lives is, as ironic as it sounds, are objects for sustainable addiction. Objects that we would willingly give up control for. This is what we truly love. A partner to spend a lifetime, children to take care of, or professions to strive in - these are just a few examples of commonly healthy addictions. Finding what one loves so much that one would be gladly addicted to defines one of the best parts of one’s life. Addictions are the best way to identify individuals. A stronger sense of individuality arises from acknowledgement of one’s unusual desires. Being able to identify such personal desires would lead to more sources of happiness. Discard the public’s common trend of likes and focus on what you love. What are you proudly addicted to?