In Search of the Eternal (Dopamine) Buzz
Some of us have noticed a lot of podcasts talking these days about dopamine—the neurotransmitter your brain uses to “reward” behavior—and how our current society is addicted to triggering it in so many unhelpful ways. (For example, social media is like a dopamine-triggering machine training you to keep on scrolling and scrolling and scrolling…) One neurologist said in a podcast recently that, in a way, the only real currency in the world is not the U.S. dollar, the British pound, the EU’s euro, or what-have-you. He suggests the only real currency in the world is dopamine, and that is what everyone in the world is “trading” in. And, in a similar sense, triggering our reward centers through dopamine hits is how many in the world—social media corporations, marketers, entertainment companies, etc.—are “reprogramming” our brains without our even realizing it.
All the talk reminds us of two articles by Mr. Gerald Weston that are very worth your time.
One that is very old but, ironically, increasingly relevant: “In Search of the Eternal Buzz,” from a 2006 TW magazine issue. It’s a short read—less than 10 minutes. Give it a shot.
The other is Mr. Weston’s article on the influence of social media, “Tame the Social Media Monster!”—the cover article of the 2018 March-April issue.* Of course, social media is not the only arena in which people are using our neurology against us (which Mr. Weston makes very apparent in the article, with comments from tech experts, themselves, who helped design it all), but reading about it—and equipping yourself—is a great place to start. It’s a longer read, but should still take most readers under 20 minutes.
Here are the two links again. Check them out!
* Unnecessary Behind-the-Scenes Comment™: We loved the cover on this issue. It was an early experiment more than four years ago in doing something a little different, and we were glad Mr. Weston let us play with it!