21st Century Copernicus Seeks Modern-Day Galileo: fMRI a Big Plus

by Charles Lyell on June 30, 2012

“Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocre minds. The latter cannot understand when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence and fulfills the duty to express the results of his thoughts in clear form.”    – Albert Einstein

Like Nicolaus Copernicus, I understand what it’s like to make an earth-shattering discovery by taking a long, hard, honest look at what nobody else wanted to notice. And I know what it’s like to be ignored by people who can’t, or don’t want to, understand what I’m talking about.

Unlike Copernicus, I don’t want to wait until our great-great grandchildren wonder how today’s experts managed to overlook the obvious, even after it was pointed out to them.

Fortunately, it doesn’t take a genius to know what Nicolaus didn’t know he needed — a great spirit with brass balls and access to state-of-the-art technology.

Are you, or do you know, a great spirit who’s ready to champion a major paradigm shift, the way Copernicus and Galileo did when it was their turn to right an upside-down world?

If so, please contact Charles@DopamineProject.org ASAP.

How We Landed in So Much Trouble

All man-made problems can be traced to primitive ancestors who turned natural dopamine-induced survival behaviors into addictions. The survival behaviors (that Homo sapiens share with chimpanzees) correlate with Abraham Maslow’s deficiency needs for food, sex, safety (power/fear), acceptance (approval/attention), and esteem (status).

Our more recent ancestors added gambling, religion, money, drug, and other addictions to the mix. Then they passed down their addictive behaviors along with the self-deceptions and denials that allowed them to indulge their dopamine-triggering proclivities while pretending that illogical, irrational, inhumane, destructive behaviors were normal, acceptable, and, in some cases, admirable.

Researchers have already established that hordes of people use food, gambling, and power to trigger the exact same dopamine that junkies trigger with heroin. Same dopamine, same self-deceptions, same denials. After all is said and done, there is only one addiction and it’s to dopamine.

It’s only a question of time until the list of addictions is expanded to include approval, attention, status, money, and religion addictions. (Mandatory disclaimer: Genuinely religious/spiritual individuals are kind, compassionate, forgiving, non judgmental, and humane. Religion addicts use religion to trigger dopamine.)

To feed their insatiable, dopamine-induced cravings, money and power addicts exacerbated our species’ plight by exploiting the addictive needs of the masses. The more powerful the dopamine triggers, the more obscene the profits, the more depraved the addicts who competed to create and supply popular addictions to legal and illegal drugs, gambling, prostitution, pornography, status symbols, religion, and money. So it’s no accident that the planet is in the clutches of powerful criminals, religious fanatics, and duplicitous billionaires who owe their fortunes to pushing highly addictive dopamine-triggering legal and illegal substances, services, and belief systems.

Money and power addicts will never accept that they are the most destructive of all addicts because, as mentioned, the symptoms exhibited by all addicts include self-deception and denial. To complicate matters, the money and power addicts control the institutions that determine the definition of addictions. Which explains why junkies have to hide their needles and risk getting arrested, while power/money addicts are free to flaunt their dopamine triggers and profit from getting away with murder.

The dopamine-induced addictions we inherited from not-very-bright ancestors are responsible for the aggression, wars, pollution, lying, cheating, stealing, greed, and destructive behaviors plaguing our species. Because we’re born into addictive societies, all illogical and irrational behavior can be explained in terms of dopamine biases that keep Homo sapiens reducing even the most complicated choices down to two. If a substance, behavior, or belief (especially esteem inflating deceptions) trigger dopamine, everyone’s interested. If a substances, behavior, or fact (especially esteem deflating information about dopamine biases reducing all choices down to two) threatens dopamine flow, nobody’s interested.

Addiction is a brain disorder. Like it or not, accept it or not, dismiss it or not, we inherited a debilitating disease that is so powerful it prevented Copernicus’ and Galileo’s peers from wanting to see what was occurring right in front of their eyes. Today, the same disorder turns geniuses into mediocre minds who can not understand when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence and fulfills the duty to express the results of his thoughts in clear form.

Dopamine-induced addictions are the reason so many examples of mass insanity pass for normal behaviors, while the few individuals questioning the rampant insanity are considered daft. After all, acknowledging all the insanity would require inquiries into the cause(s) of the insanity and threaten the dopamine flow of all the addicts controlling our species’ fate.

Like heliocentrism, understanding how a neurotransmitter, that continues to help “dumb” animals survive, is undermining the survival of a potentially sapient species is obvious to anyone willing to take a long, hard, honest look at a few impossible to disprove, but easy to ignore, facts.

Centuries ago people had decades to waste. For us, it might already be too late to wake up and smell the dopamine.

Still, as long as we’re here, why not do what we can to change the paradigm?

Copernicus and Galileo didn’t care that they were taking on the world. As it happens, we’re much better off than previous trailblazers, who provided us with insights that they didn’t have. Plus, lucky us, we have the internet.

With the help of a modern-day Galileo, there’s a good chance we can turn what sounds like science fiction into science fact.

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