Monday, December 24, 2012

Goals versus Rewards

We were once a species that individually performed many functions that gave us direct access to the items necessary for our survival. Now we have been reduced to repeating one or two simple tasks to acquire a unit of exchange for the many necessary items we must acquire.

If you look in the newspaper's entertainment section, it's full of simple stimulus rewards in exchange for currency. For your money you get to enthrall your sensory organs with novelty.

Is that life?

And what of social media on the Internet? It has become nothing more than a pick-and-share bin of visual and auditory novelty. Try to ask a question and get an answer on Facebook or Google+. At least LinkedIn has real interactive participation toward objectives. The key word is objectives.

Is the definition of "social" nothing more than psychosexual activity? Does not social media also entail working toward achieving goals? Besides LinkedIn, there is Meetup, but my experience with Meetup has been more social activity.

We have given our goals over to easy rewards. The cheap entertainment has replaced personal achievement. Only now after years of poverty do I realize what happened. Having time for long introspection on the meaning and outcome of consuming the social entertainment industry (i.e. bars, restaurants, theaters, shopping malls), I have down-shifted my perceived value of those simple rewards, and the foggy veil of hollow satisfaction has lifted.

Being denied the comfortable distractions of most people, I stand back and watch the herd with growing anxiety about the future of our species. The master with the best keys to jangle before the masses wins.

The biggest help toward gaining insight into this problem was "The End of Overeating" by David Kessler, and  "The Emotional Life of Your Brain" by Richard J. Davidson and Sharon Begley.

We have become conditioned to automatically respond to cues in the environment that lead us to repeat simple behaviors and achieve sensory satisfaction in the short-term, at the cost of our own personal achievements, health, savings and supply of resources.

I may only be speaking for those who are most susceptible to conditioning and stimulus in the environment. I have an eating disorder where I seek food as a substitute for an absent relationship; a relationship I am unable to achieve because of my anxiety. It works in a vicious cycle. My lack of a relationship diminishes my effort to set goals for myself. My lack of goals leaves me susceptible to environmental stimulation. Environmental stimulation leads me to food. Food leads me to obesity. Obesity contributes to my negative self-image which causes resistance to seek relationships.

Addiction arises out of one or more of these factors. I am genetically predisposed to having not enough dopamine to regulate my anxiety. It has nothing to do with the substance of choice, but the billion dollar industries and "non-profits" that feed off public ignorance regarding addiction don't want you to know that.