“The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool.” – Richard P. Feynman
If you can’t, or don’t want to, understand how the human heisenbug fix turned our ancestors into DIMwits (with an infinite capacity to fool themselves) little of what you’re about to read will make sense.
Fortunately, it’s possible to fix the fix. Unfortunately, few DIMwits are able to take the first step, which is to learn how the human heisenbug fix can and will keep you from taking the first step.
When Good Coding Goes Bad
“What makes you think that human beings are sentient and aware? There’s no evidence for it. Human beings never think for themselves, they find it too uncomfortable. For the most part, members of our species simply repeat what they are told – and become upset if they are exposed to any different view.”
– Michael Crichton, The Lost World
We’re here because primitive binary programming, dopamine-induced addictions, and natural selection created increasingly complex gene vehicles biologically driven to transfer tested programming into future generations.
Long before humans made their debut, evolution honed primitive programming to near perfection by engineering dopamine maintenance (i.e. triggering and protecting dopamine flow) into a no-brainer for simple minds. The resulting binary coding ensured the survival of countless species by whittling all choices to two: dopamine appealing (yes/go/like/crave/seek) or dopamine repellent (no/stop/hate/dread/avoid).
The Human Heisenbug
In computer programming jargon, a heisenbug is a software bug that seems to disappear or alter its behavior when one attempts to study it. – wikipedia.org
From the start, the code included a dormant glitch capable of morphing into a serious bug. But not for pre-primates. Millions of years later, the same basic programming continues to function flawlessly with lower animals. The key word is basic, because the programming is limited to the elementary withdrawals (aka fears, hungers, thirsts, and lusts) complementing basic addictions to retreating, refueling, rehydrating, and replicating.
[In Chapter 6 I explain why DIMwits find it so difficult to grasp, acknowledge, admit to, and/or agree about the definition of addictions.]
The heisenbug grew increasingly (though only potentially) problematic when complicated social instructions were patched onto basic code. As chimpanzees demonstrate, apes programmed to crave acceptance, approval, and status (while dreading rejection, disapproval, and ridicule) are much likelier to bequeath strategic social addictions than asocial peers.
Despite striking similarities with humans, a critical distinction protected our simian relations from the heisenbug that corrupted human programming.
“To every man is given the key to the gates of heaven. The same key opens the gates of hell.” -Richard Feynman
The aggregate coding, extended to foster the survival of intellectually challenged social animals, started faulting with our intellectually gifted prototypes. As human consciousness evolved, the permutation of new awareness and old heisenbug pitted heretofore compatible programming against itself, turning a blessing into a curse.
We know what early humans wanted because we inherited their genetic coding. Like chimpanzees, they were programmed to crave the dopamine triggered by expectations of maximizing safety, acceptance, approval, and status. Unlike chimpanzees, our forebears’ programming featured a nascent intelligence.
Cognizance proved to be a double-edged sword. The upside included titillating opportunities to manufacture seductive, addictive, esteem-elevating deceptions about being exalted humans, superior to inferior animals and closer to the gods. The downside left growing numbers of sapient primates grappling with an esteem-deflating awareness of what they actually were – lying, cheating, vindictive, urinating, defecating, lustful, smelly, homicidal, inhumane, horny, scared, delusional, superstitious brutes.
The heisenbug made it impossible to resolve unresolvable conflicts between mutually exclusive dopamine-triggering deceptions (to feed programmed cravings for significance) and dopamine-threatening conceptions of insignificance. In other words, binary code designed to run crave OR dread was stymied by crave AND dread.
Something had to give.
Lucky for us, gene vehicles don’t crash the way computers do. They adapt. Which is what our ancestors did and why you’re reading this.
The Heisenbug Fix
“The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not ‘Eureka!’ (I found it!) but ‘That’s funny…’”
– Isaac Asimov
I believe the adaptation involved going insane and, because of the ubiquitous hiesenbug, similar programming revisions occurred in disparate and dispersed groups. (Meanwhile, those that didn’t go mad were eliminated by aggressive, marauding, murderous gangs that did.)
The glitch was resolved by a clever slight of mind. The trick was a tweak in the primitive coding that made certain thoughts so dopamine repellent they became too neurologically painful to think.
In effect, insanity provided a workable fix by blocking a short list of esteem-threatening ideas, concepts, and speculations while allowing a long list of developing, intellectual, creative, technological, productive, and destructive capacities. Which is why rocket scientists can do the math to put astronauts on the moon yet can’t put two and two together to figure out (or even consider the possibility) a neurotransmitter rendered them non compos mentis.
More importantly, the human heisenbug fix came with the invincible survival tools responsible for shunting survival of the fittest into survival of the most depraved, self-deceptive, and insane.
What Is In a Name
“There are three stages in scientific discovery. First, people deny that it is true, then they deny that it is important; finally they credit the wrong person.”
― Bill Bryson, A Short History of Nearly Everything
Until scientists catch up, verify, and rename the adaptation, I’m calling it dopamine-induced madness (DIM). DIM succeeded by devolving potential humans, who couldn’t run contradictory coding, into virtual DIMwits who could.
As crazy as it might sound, dopamine-induced madness derailed human evolution by corrupting innate reasoning capacity and perverting it into an asset that continues to help DIMwits maintain dopamine flow with blatant lies, obvious denials, absurd belief systems, and inane justifications to rationalize irrational, bizarre, and insane behaviors.
DIM was a sloppy but effective patch for creatures programmed to avoid threats to dopamine flow. Insanity prevailed by delivering a dopamine bonanza that made it possible for inhumane animals to get away with indulging, ignoring, and denying primal addictions while artificially inflating esteem with flimsy delusions (only DIMwits could believe) about being high-minded, moral, rational, sane Homo sapiens sapiens.
Moreover, DIM made (and makes) it easy for seemingly intelligent DIMwits to ignore, overlook, deny, accept, and justify even the most glaring symptoms of addictions and insanity. Because acknowledging symptoms includes the dopamine repellent risk of exposing the source, something DIMwit programming effectively blocks.
Together, dopamine-induced madness and addictions created the perfect pandemic. Comorbid brain disorders capable of keeping sufferers from wanting to know our species is afflicted with debilitating brain disorders that make maintaining dopamine flow in primitive brains more important than saving the planet from DIMwits.
Let me repeat that. Our species is afflicted with debilitating brain disorders that make maintaining dopamine flow in primitive brains more important than saving the planet from DIMwits
Why DIMwits Prevailed
“Nevertheless, it cannot be coincidental that the only animals in which gangs of males expand their territory by deliberately exterminating neighboring males happen to be humans and chimpanzees.” – Frans de Waal
There’s no way of knowing if our DIMwit gene donors were stricken with DIM or if the madness was introduced by mutations born with faulty programming. Regardless of origin, DIM provided a staggering array of short-term survival benefits that help explain our ascendants’ impressive ascendancy. The benefits included the ability to lie, deny, cheat, collude, betray, and especially kill, the whole time justifying, excusing, and even congratulating one another for, what they couldn’t admit was, rank depravity.
I refer to the benefits as short term because insanity and addictions are in the process of undermining our species’ chances of long-term survival. One more dopamine-threatening tidbit few DIMwits are able to process.
DIM perpetuated the conversion by making it easy for DIMwits to identify and eliminate the greatest threats to their lies, deceptions, hypocrisies, delusions, addictions, and dopamine flow — anyone sane enough to notice the insanity and foolish enough to mention it.
That’s why history is the story of unconscious DIMwits colluding to remove the DNA of sane rivals while breeding more DIMwits.
Means and Ends
“In discarding the monkey and substituting man, our Father in Heaven did the monkey an undeserved injustice.” – Mark Twain
With chimpanzees, life-sustaining dopamine-induced addictions evolved (to food, safety, power, acceptance, approval, attention, and status) because they were means to one, logical, obsessive end = orgasm = ultimate dopamine prize = ultimate addiction.
As clever DIMwits grew more and more enamored with dopamine they began hacking into the delicate dopaminergic system by triggering the powerful neurotransmitter with drugs, gambling, belief systems, status symbols, and money. In doing so, not-very-bright hackers managed to redirect proven biological means into bio-illogical dead-ends unto themselves.
Dopamine is so potent that artificially flooding the system destroys fragile sensors, creating an addictive cycle where too much dopamine can never be enough. So instead of supporting survival, addictions (to food, safety, power, acceptance, esteem, and sex) cause obesity, conflicts, conquests, crusades, jihads, waste, pollution, destruction, STDs, and death.
Dopamine-induced madness and addictions are compatible and complimentary co-occurring diseases because the former provides the deceptions and denials required by the latter.
Today, the same DIM helping drug addicts deny addictions and reprehensible behaviors makes it possible for addiction experts to deny the existence of common addictions (to safety, power, acceptance, status, and/or money) that kept them scrambling for prestigious titles, positions, and jobs.
Meanwhile, the heisenbug fix sees to it that DIMwits remain conveniently ignorant of the widespread, obvious, and maddening insanity.
In the next chapter I’ll explain how to fix the human heisenbug fix.
As always, fell free to send comments, questions, feedback, corrections, and objections to Charles@DopamineProject.org.