Why Dopamine Addiction Hasn’t Been “Discovered” To Date

by Charles Lyell on July 4, 2011

“The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.”               – Helen Keller

The word discover, which literally means un-cover, is in italics to emphasize a phenomenon that explains why dopamine addiction hasn’t been uncovered to date. You see, it isn’t possible to uncover anything that isn’t covered. Dopamine addiction’s existence is right out in the open for anyone interested in taking an honest look.

Extensive research has conclusively tied dopamine to all the acknowledged addictions — legal and illegal drugs, sex, food, and gambling. Researchers are closing in on the links between dopamine and addictive activities such as social media and video games. Still, when it comes to connecting dopamine to safety, peer-approval, and esteem addictions, the scientists are blinded by the dopamine.

“The whole educational and professional training system is a very elaborate filter, which just weeds out people who are too independent, and who think for themselves, and who don’t know how to be submissive, and so on — because they’re dysfunctional to the institutions.”      – Noam Chomsky

The problem can be traced to a flaw that discourages insightful individuals from becoming scientists in the first place. The prerequisite for a career in science is a willingness to answer to gatekeepers who control grades, recommendations, acceptances, opportunities, positions, titles, awards, grants, advancement, and careers.

The system is rigged against independent thinkers and in favor of safety addicts (who are unlikely to risk their grades, grants, funding, or positions), peer-approval addicts (who never risk rejection), and esteem addicts (who loath ridicule).

This explains why scientists behave like the proverbial blind men arguing over what an elephant is. To the blind man feeling the trunk “an elephant is like a branch of a tree.” To the others touching the belly, tail, and a leg, an elephant is like a “wall,” a rope” or a “column.” Locked in their dopamine-induced need to be right by proving others wrong the blind men remain oblivious to the possibility that they’re all missing the big picture.

“Science is a bit like the joke about the drunk who is looking under a lamppost for a key that he has lost on the other side of the street, because that’s where the light is. It has no other choice.”  – Noam Chomsky

Which brings us back to the reason dopamine addiction hasn’t been and will not be discovered until a few dynamic scientists find the honestly, courage, integrity, intelligence, and willingness to start looking where they don’t want to look = at their own addictions. As long as dopamine addiction remains easy to dismiss, researchers will be free to deny that they are addicts while continuing to indulge their addictions. As an added inducement to remaining oblivious, they get to elevate their esteem (and score bonus dopamine squirts) by deluding themselves into thinking they’re too smart to believe in dopamine addiction. This leaves the dopamine addicts controlling powerful institutions little incentive to look at facts they don’t want to see because they can’t disprove them.

Without a paradigm shift, the evidence pointing to dopamine addiction’s existence and growing complications will remain clusters of scattered dots that dopamine keeps scientists not wanting to connect.

When the rare, brave, right scientists finally do connect the dots it will no longer be possible to deny that all dopamine-induced primitive survival behaviors can turn into an addiction to dopamine. Only then will honest researchers start investigating the connections between dopamine addiction and ALL of Abraham Maslow’s lower deficit needs, and especially safety, peer approval, and esteem.

What do you think?

Is it possible to spread the word about such a monumental discovery without the approval of a scientific community controlled by dopamine addicts who don’t want to know that they’re dopamine addicts?

Can you think of a way to encourage safety, peer-approval, and esteem addicts to honestly investigate the possibility that they are dopamine addicts as long as it means risking rejection, ridicule, and possibly an end to their careers?


2 Responses to “Why Dopamine Addiction Hasn’t Been “Discovered” To Date”

  1. The article pretty well sums up the college program I am in. But at the risk of being accused of being a dopamine addict myself, you need to look at the other side of the coin…unless you want to be one of the blind men feeling the elephant. How do you suggest we guard against junk science and hucksters-for-profit? I\’m talking about the liars who took money to debunk solid climate science back in the early nineties. These charlatans wrote article after article lying about climate change and, with the help of a complicit media, dissolved broad public support for lifestyle changes that would have headed off the climate change crisis we now find inevitable. The masqueraded as scientists but their work was not subject to any sort of review.

    Posted by Matthew | July 20, 2013, 12:39 pm

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