likes on your Instagram in five minutes, your brain is getting the same feelings your great grancestors got from doing important activities — the human equivalent of the mama bird feeding the red popsicle stick. The core problem is that the intensity of experience from alcohol, recreational drugs, video games, social media, stock options, porn, etc. is significantly higher today than daily experiences from the eras in which our brains evolved, and we’re now surrounded by it. TaaL: There is a story about a human billionaire investor who was young, had yachts and a private jet, hooked up with a different supermodel every week, had access to the best drugs, ate gourmet food at every meal and yet found he was unhappy. He sought and found a magic lamp which could grant him a single wish and wished to be the happiest person in the world. And “poof”— he was suddenly an 80-year-old toothless woman shouting “BINGO!” Most humans laugh when I tell this story— because deep down they know that many of the things that give them intense feelings are not really the best choices to make, yet they often feel kind of powerless to step off the feel-good treadmill. The modern hijacking of most human brains by junk food, drugs, and other hyperstimulation is pure atavistic gene agenda. In your current society, you’re often many layers deep in dependence on continued supernormal stimulation to “peg the meter” just to feel OK every day. The good news is that — like any addiction — you can kick this and be happier. Once your brain reward circuits aren’t constantly “pegged out” at maximum, you can re-claim the joy of existence met by expectation, surprise, and the attainment of normal hominid needs. Until that point, though, teaching humans about supernormal stimuli is a bit of a lopsided contest, as such self-knowledge — ANY conscious self-knowledge — has no deep brain connections able to stimulate lusts, fears, and pleasures to rally to its cause. The Bottom Line: Most modern food, entertainment and other stimuli are much stronger, and thus more addictive, than rewards with which our ancestors were familiar.
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