Dopamine-Induced Madness: Poachers Poison 300 Elephants

by Charles Lyell on December 1, 2013



The crisis is escalating and species are being hunted to the edge of extinction. Now the killing frenzy includes poisoning elephants’ waterholes.

Poachers in Zimbabwe used cyanide to kill more than 300 elephants and countless other safari animals. Complete herds are being wiped out for one illogical, irrational, insane reason — to score dopamine.

In March I added Why Seemingly Nice People Do Silly, Inane, and Not-So-Nice Things. The post explains how inhumane behaviors often have little to do with the behaviors and everything to do with protecting and triggering dopamine flow.

The poachers, dealers, and ivory collectors responsible for the slaughters aren’t necessarily evil. And they aren’t all stupid. Instead, they’re addicts who do what they do because ivory helps them trigger the same dopamine that junkies trigger with heroin. Addictions turn seemingly decent and rational humans into indecent and irrational addicts who lie, cheat, steal, and kill (or pay others to kill for them) because they only care about one thing — the next dopamine fix.

It doesn’t matter if the addictions are to drugs, food, sex, gambling, safety/power, acceptance/approval/attention, esteem/status, and/or money. Same dopamine, same self-deceptions, denials, indifference to the suffering of others, and intransigent commitment to repeat behaviors that trigger the powerful neurotransmitter.

Nobody wants ivory

The poachers and dealers are money addicts who trigger dopamine with the cash they receive for the ivory. Money is highly addictive because it easily converts into dopamine-triggering drugs, foods, sex, bets, safety/power, acceptance/approval/attention, esteem/status, or more money.

The ivory collectors are insecure acceptance and esteem addicts who are slaves to the dopamine triggered by arbitrary symbols that help them win acceptance and inflate status.

The real drug war

We’re involve in a drug war and the drug is dopamine. That’s why it’s so important to understand how neurotransmitters manipulate behavior.

Arresting poachers and dealers never works. To stop the money addicts, eliminate the dopamine by eliminating the cash by eliminating demand.

To eliminate demand, eliminate the dopamine by replacing the esteem and acceptance with ridicule and rejection.

Spread the word that only grossly insecure, inhumane, and pathetic addicts are interested in products that result in torturing and killing.

Esteem and acceptance addicts crave the dopamine triggered by status symbols that come with expectations of elevating esteem and winning approval. The same addiction that keeps them from caring about the elephants’ plight keeps them extremely averse to being chastised for their insensitivity, inhumanity, cupidity, and stupidity — because that threatens dopamine flow.

The poisoning, torturing, and killing of these majestic creatures is a mind-boggling tragedy. At the same time, it offers a golden opportunity to shine a light on a particularly heinous example of the widespread dopamine-induced madness threatening our species’  survival.

All man-made tragedies can be traced to addicts’ relentless and mindless pursuits to trigger chemical quirts in their brains.

It doesn’t get any more insane than that.

In the meantime

The killing will continue until either the elephants are annihilated or enough concerned human beings wake up and smell the dopamine.

The time has come to challenge the very real madness that can be traced to dopamine-induced addictions. But until society starts addressing illogical atrocities on a logical neurological level, I’m contributing to Chengeta Wildlife.

I hope you’ll click  on the link and make a donation.



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