“All human beings are becoming humanoids. All over the world, not just in America. We’re just getting there faster since we’re the most advanced country.”
– Howard Beale
Paddy Chayefsky’s character, Howard Beale, wasn’t the first protagonist to point a finger at dopamine addicts. Satirists have been writing about dopamine-induced behaviors for centuries. It is evident, whether it is Swift exploring dopamine’s influences on Liilput’s fear addicts, Dickens staging a dopamine intervention on money addict Ebeneezer Scrooge, Wilde shining a light on the esteem addicts of Victorian England, or Orwell providing a peek into what will happen if diseased power addicts continue to destroy and conquer.
As each of these writers turned reality on its head to skewer the buffoonery, insanity, and inhumanity that riled them, they somehow ended up diagnosing dopamine addiction — long before there was brain scanning equipment to reveal how the brain disease they were writing about worked.
All incisive social critique is really an exposé on dopamine addicts running amuck in diseased societies. When the censors stopped Rod Serling from exposing bigotry, xenophobia, and general stupidity during prime time, he wove his insights into Twilight Zone vignettes and Planet of the Apes. Gene Roddenberry created Star Trek and planted his dopamine addicts in outer space. Theodor Geisel, writing as Dr. Seuss, filled children’s books with simpleminded caricatures who had about as much insight into their diseased behaviors as the pigs in Mr. Orwell’s Animal Farm.
Then there was Hans Christian Andersen’s wonderful tale, The Emperor’s New Clothes — a story that’s been read by countless clueless adults who believed Andersen was writing about other people’s foolishness. By playing the self-deceptive game of “look at those dummies,” generation after generation of well-meaning grown-ups squandered valuable opportunities to help themselves, and the children they were influencing, gain invaluable insights into how afraid we all are to be the first to speak up about absurdities that most prefer to ignore.
There’s an important difference between yesteryears’ satirists and today’s researchers. Modern brain scanning equipment makes it possible to get past the satirizing, critiquing, and complaining. For the first time in history, scientists can explain how dopamine-induced addictions keep just about everyone behaving like self-deceptive buffoons who never seem to figure out that we’re the ones being satirized.
The problem is that dopamine addiction is so all pervasive that it’s reached pandemic proportion. So much so that even the smartest scientists can’t understand how, why, and that they share a vested interest in not wanting to look into the possibility that they’ve spent their lives earning degrees, titles, and positions in the hopes of being accepted into an exclusive club dedicated to keeping anyone from figuring out that a brain disease has turned everyone into dopamine addicts.
It would be interesting to invite scientists to view a Twilight Zone episode about highly intelligent researchers scrambling to keep anyone from discovering a brain disease capable of keeping sufferers from wanting to know they had the disease. My guess is that very, very few of them would figure out that they were the researchers being satirized.