Understanding the breadth and complexities of dopamine addiction can make it seem as if we are all rabid dopamine addicts. We probably are, but it isn’t the end of the world.
In fact, it just might be the beginning of a new world.
Becoming aware of dopamine addiction does not mean renouncing all things pleasurable. Instead, it is a path to exploring how to channel dopamine into a positive force. Who is to say that a traditional, self-centered esteem addict couldn’t just as easily thrive off of dopamine from the praise garnered from a project that helps others?
Since the beginning of time, dopamine addiction has been mostly toxic and parasitic. In the worst instances, a lust for dopamine-inducing power, money, or dominance leads to killing, exploitation, and hatred. Could dopamine possibly become an addiction that rewards symbiotically, such as a desire for safety extending beyond one man protected by his personal arsenal into one community, protected by an awareness of the need for tolerance?
The Perfect Pandemic offers four conclusions. While two debate whether or not there is any hope left for humanity, the third conclusion bypasses hope in favor of a social movement for change. Why not let esteem addicts finance scientific research into dopamine addiction in exchange for the dopamine hits from being a part of a historic and important movement? In a broader context, if a “dopamine hit” is nothing more than scientific language for something rewarding, who is to say that dedicated, inventive, self-aware “addicts” couldn’t ultimately figure out how to meet our dopamine needs by finding ways to help one another, and the world at large?