Think about childhood, those days when you went out and played tirelessly. Ponder on your favorite food. How many times did it take for you to develop a craving for more of it..?? Recollect those habits you are so found of and cannot think of giving up. On the other hand recall the student life. How many of you got habituated to studying..?? How many of you cannot stop yourself from exercising and how many resolutions have you made so far in vain..?? Why is it that some things we can get used very quickly and some others take a life time of getting used to…why..???
Remember, we too are animals however managed to be on top of the evolution due to something which eventually changed and made us superior to other animals. A part in the brain which helps us makes distinction between the right and the wrong. The part which puts a lid called responsibility on the extent of freedom we have. It is a small part in the frontal lobe of brain, responsible for consciousness. This part carries our values and beliefs which we inherit from our culture. This part in us though functional, is mild and primitive and can barely surpass the animalistic brain which is immensely powerful and all about survival, gaining pleasure and avoiding pain. As animals our nature is instinctually guided by sexual and aggressive instincts which were evolutionarily beneficial for us to sustain and reproduce.
As we are growing, we are developing the consciousness eventually on top of animalistic brain. Till 12 years most of our activities are guided by animalistic brain. Though conscious brain is being shaped it is passive in nature. In the teenage as body, thoughts and emotions evolve in every way, there is a fight going on between the strong animalistic brain and the primitive and developing conscious brain. This is the age when we tend to question everything under the sun, including our identity, the societal norms, the rules and regulations, the reasons for denial of pleasure, sexual and aggressive instincts etc. In this age if we do not give a scope for the individual to develop a conscious brain which has well thought of and understood values, empowering beliefs and right boundaries we are creating an individual who though has a strong animalistic mind has a less evolved conscious mind. In this age it becomes important to make a teenager understand the reasons behind boundaries and to find a pleasurable purpose for his identity which is as strong as his animalistic and aggressive instincts, which even animalistic brain can accept. As an adult the habits are almost set. The person has developed the consciousness in the way it functions in him and has his animalistic brain and the conscious brain cooperating.
Science talks about certain number of days, say 30 or 66 and different reinforcement mechanisms to shape habits however Now, Let’s come back to those habits in our life which take not more than one exposure to stay with us forever. These habits are shaped either when there is lot of experienced pleasure or there is a combination of pleasure with sexual or aggressive instincts, the habits formed are deadly. They would take lot of effort to leave us how much ever harm or punishing they prove to be or making us guilty or resentful.
Now we are in the culture where freedom and liberation is promoted over the boundaries or the responsibilities. The freedom has become the ultimate mantra at any cost. What about the expression of freedom in those areas which create addictive habits which rarely contribute to the quality of life. What about the sex education in childhood and teenage..??
We are either exposing our youth to sex education which nurtures their sexual and aggressive instincts or going with a policy of forced secrecy on these instincts. Internet is 37-80% filled with instantly addictive adult content, which is not the real sex education in any way. Outside world is filled with people who think about sex and act on it but never talk or listen in right way. Sexual and aggressive instincts are harmful if repressed and also harmful if exposed. For us to awaken and satisfy those instincts come as naturally as satisfying hunger and hunger here remains with us till death and is never fully satisfied. Only solution is to balance on the rope and come up with means for sex education which helps our youth understand and assert the sexual self in an empowering way. Help them build right boundaries and value system around sex and make them understand the intentions of the restrictions and taboo on sex though it is extremely natural to us. Carefully planned, Properly tested and validated curriculum including not only what of sex education but also why behind the cultural restrictions might be the way to go…!!!
Photo Courtesy :
Beyond Randomness is an organization run by psychologists, based in Bangalore...Know More