“You must be the change you hope to see in the world.” – Gandhi
The dopamine advantage is a double-edged sword that, until now, has only cut one way — one result is that the evolutionary deck has always been stacked in favor of primitive dopamine addicts.
Through the ages, the dopamine advantage provided the biggest dopamine addicts with a treasure-trove of invincible benefits. The benefits include an infinite capacity for self-deception and the ability to rationalize, justify, and deny behaviors that facilitate addictions, such as lying, cheating, stealing, and even killing. Why? For the same reasons heroin addicts lie, cheat, steal, kill, and deny — in order to score dopamine.
Heroin addicts use junk to trigger dopamine. Safety addicts prefer guns, peer-approval addicts worship gods, status addicts idolize symbols, money addicts adore cash, and all addicts use junk thinking to trigger dopamine.
If honesty triggered as much dopamine as lying, more people would be involved in raising dopamine awareness. Unfortunately, when it comes to addictions, honesty shuts off the dopamine spigots AND blocks access to the new brain areas associated with reason and awareness.
In the absence of reason, addicts are free to obsess over their favorite legal and illegal drugs, foods, behaviors, fears, beliefs, and/or self-deceptions that deliver dopamine. Unencumbered by awareness, addicts find it easy to protect and trigger dopamine flow by twisting facts, evading information, circumventing details, or attacking and destroying individuals who threaten to expose and/or stop them.
The dopamine-induced haze that keeps dopamine addicts oblivious to their deceptions has, in the past, ensured that reasoning and conscious human beings were no match for aggressive, easily offended, overly offensive addicts suffering from a dehumanizing brain disease.
For eons, reason, honesty, ethics, and a disdain for murder were handicaps in the struggle against delusional, colluding dopamine addicts.
For the first time in history, the dopamine advantage favors individuals who don‘t lie, won’t cheat, and can’t kill.
By extrapolating what is already known, it’s possible to link dopamine to heroin, cocaine, sex, food, money, religion, power/fear, acceptance/approval/attention, esteem/status and every other addiction.
As simplistic as it might sound, fostering positive change starts with understanding and accepting that lying, cheating, stealing, and killing are symptoms of addictions. When that happens, liars, cheaters, thieves, and killers will be stripped of the unfair advantages that have benefited addicts since the dawn of humankind.
But there’s a but…
To foster positive change, many more healthy (and wannabe healthy) individuals will have to raise their dopamine awareness and learn how to turn dopamine knowledge into self-knowledge.
We are all, to varying degrees, dopamine addicts suffering from the same self-deceptions and denials that keep all addicts from wanting to know they’re addicts.
There are nice dopamine addicts protecting their relatively benign addictions and crazed dopamine addicts protecting destructive addictions. The one thing both types have in common is the denial that keeps addicts from admitting to, or giving up, addictions.
All man-made problems can be traced to primitive ancestors who lacked the intelligence, willpower, and curiosity to understand they were born into deceptive non-realities. Then, as now, dopamine-induced lies facilitated the unconscious indulgence of addictions.
Long before we inherited the great web of deceptions, even the biggest fools found it easy to take full advantage of their ignorance and ability to dismiss the obvious and deny the undeniable.
To complicate matters, it doesn’t take much to turn hypersensitive safety addicts off with information that threatens to expose their addiction to safety. Desperate peer-approval addicts loathe thinking for themselves. And esteem addicts adore any and all lies that elevate esteem (and trigger dopamine) but deplore information and individuals capable of reducing esteem and dopamine flow.
I guess someone has to start, so…
Hello, my name is Charles and I’m a dopamine addict.
I drink too much beer, eat too much food, let fears influence too many of my decisions, and I care much too much about what people think about me.
Worst of all, I’m addicted to the delusion that there’s hope for humankind. And I’m hooked on the belief that it’s possible to reach enough people who will understand the value of raising dopamine awareness — so we can reach the tipping point, change the paradigm, and turn things around.
I keep trying to stop believing that addicts can change, but I can’t.
I’ve tried to walk away from the dream that at least some benign dopamine addicts will listen to all the available information about dopamine’s addictive powers and start admitting to their dopamine-induced addictions.
I’m not expecting people to give up addictions. It would be great if just a few started admitting to addictions. That’s all it would take.
Admitting to my addictions has given me more time to enjoy the dopamine-induced habits that make me happy.
More importantly, the honesty has helped me stop wasting precious time on addictions that added unnecessary stress to my life and left me feeling less happy and even miserable.
If only I could work past the self-deceptions and denials that keep me from accepting the possibility that there’s no hope for our species. Then, I’d finally be able to give up and stop annoying addicts who don’t want to wake up and smell the dopamine.