Could Dopamine Be the Most Evil Chemical in the World?

by Charles Lyell on October 4, 2011

If you‘d like to read an excellent article about dopamine click here.

The piece was written by David Bradley for According to, “David Bradley is a chemist by training and now an award-winning science writer with more than 20 years experience.”

I’d like to publicly thank David for being a genuinely unique individual. Let me explain…

A few of the lessons learned while failing to raise dopamine awareness include:

  • Everything we do we do to protect and trigger dopamine flow.
  • Choices, beliefs, and behaviors that trigger dopamine flow are dopamine appealing.
  • Concepts with high dopamine appeal (even if blatantly false, frivolous, or dangerous) are embraced, cherished, and believed.
  • Choices, beliefs, and behaviors that threaten dopamine flow are dopamine repellent.
  • Dopamine-repellent ideas (no matter how obvious, significant, or helpful) are instinctively dismissed, mocked, or attacked (in much the same way dopamine-repellent bugs are swatted).
  • Dopamine repellent ideas that can’t be disproved, dismissed, mocked, or successfully attacked are ignored.
  • Learning how dopamine manipulates behavior, usurps free will, and is responsible for addictive behaviors can be extremely dopamine repellent.
  • Mega dopamine appeal is why tens of millions tune in to witness who’s kicked off Survivor, American Idol, and Dancing With the Stars.
  • Conversely, dopamine-repellent facts inhibit discussions about common addictions (to safety/power/fear, approval/attention, esteem/status, money, and religion) in the process of getting our species kicked off the planet.

Over the years I’ve contacted scores of researchers and science writers and asked variations of: “Do you know if any researchers are looking into the links between dopamine/addiction and all of Abraham Maslow’s d-needs? (Food, sex, safety, approval, esteem.)“

The responses were fairly consistent and ranged from “Wow!” to “That makes a lot of sense.”

All ended with “No, I don’t know anyone looking into it.” And that’s where all the conversations (and interest) ended.

David Bradley was the only one contacted open minded enough to initiate a dialogue. After checking out, David let me know, in a polite way, that he was wondering if I might be just another annoying crank on a soapbox. To his credit, and despite serious reservations, he asked questions and replied to answers. After hearing me out he wrote one of the best written, most concise, and spot on articles about dopamine I’ve read to date.

While waiting for the article’s publication I convinced myself that it didn’t matter how brilliant or insightful his article was, because it was certain to be ignored.

Why? Because the more cutting, insightful, and informative the article, the more dopamine repellent it would be.

Then I saw the graphic that accompanied the article and thought… Maybe, just maybe, one, or even a few’s readers will perk up and smell the dopamine.

Will they?

I’ll keep you posted…


Addendum: It’s 4/23/13, more than a year-and-a-half later, and Mr. Bradley’s article has 7440 views with one comment.

Granted, in a world where reality TV star gossip receives millions of hits, a few thousand views isn’t exactly impressive. Still, they were researchers, scientists, and inquisitive minds who were at least interested in learning about dopamine.

Yet not one of them contacted me. Not one.

Thanks to David Bradley it finally dawned on me, the puzzle was there for the solving because nobody, including the experts, wants to know. Even after it’s explained.

Without realizing it, the “experts” (who I expected to either be blown away or somehow provoked into engaging, including dismissals) essentially verified how widespread and powerful dopamine-induced addictions to safety, peer approval, and esteem are.

Now that you’re privy to one of this century’s most significant breakthroughs, what are you going to do? If you’re an extremely unique and rare individual you’ll risk the threats to safety, peer approval, esteem, and dopamine flow and learn more.

If you’re like most, you’ll let dopamine convince you to ignore, dismiss, and/or forget what you read and move on to something a little, or a lot, more dopamine appealing.

“Men stumble over the truth from time to time, but most pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing happened.” – Winston Churchill

Or perhaps you’ll decide to wait until someone you admire and respect acknowledges the validity of information you’re not quite ready to acknowledge considering.

In the meantime, thanks for stopping by.


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