POWER TO THE PEOPLE – THE CHEMISTRY OF OUR PHILOSOPHY
I’ve recently been inspired by stoicism and my reading lists and podcasts playlist seemed to be brimming (ironic for a stoic) with advocacy of simple living.
Ive recently been inspired by stoicism and my reading lists and podcasts playlist seemed to be brimming (ironic for a stoic) with advocacy of simple living. Unable to hit any of my sleep, step or diet goals, i decided a tech detox was in order! But first, as any good sceptic would, i decided
to deep dive into tech detox as a concept. The concept of brain chemicals, their effect on our thoughts and behaviours and their ability to govern every facet of human life, had me gripped. And away we went, down the rabbit hole of credible research, myths, and downright delusional conclusions.
Lets just say, the tech detox never happened. But what did happen was a strong theory developed. One that reinforces our beliefs and reasons for doing what we do.
For living creating and advocating, active lifestyles that focus on physical and mental well-being. The more you read about dopamine the molecule of mor the more you understand how much of a part it plays in every little action you so
innocuously commit to. For the uninitiated, dopamine is a chemical produced by only one in two thousand brain cells. Its called the pleasure molecule because thats exactly what people feel like when dopamine is active in their brains.
Ive recently been inspired by stoicism and my reading lists and podcasts playlist seemed to be brimming (ironic for a stoic) with advocacy of simple living. Dopamine is the key contributing chemical to addiction. Gambling, alcohol, and
drugs are all addictions, driven by dopamine.
The dopamine hit! Its a scary ride, and once you get on that rollercoaster you keep coming back for more. Sounds like a hell of a good business to be in, right? A never-ending supply of customers who can’t get enough and keep wanting more of your product every time they get some? And there lies the problem.
The alcohol, gambling and drug lobbies have been inadvertently using the dopamine- driven business model. Big tech, however, has had no such accidents. The largest investment in clinical studies and the largest single employer of clinical psychologists and research into brain
chemicals and dopamine is big tech. In her book, dopamine nation, anna lembke says the smartphone is the modern-day hypodermic needle, delivering digital dopamine 24/7 for an always-wired generation.
The short-term, dopamine-driven
feedback loops that we have created are destroying how society works, chamath palihapitiya, former vice president
of user growth at facebook, told an audience at stanford graduate school of business.
The aim is to psychologically figure out how to manipulate you as fast as possible and then give you back that dopamine hit.
In a similar vein, facebook’s founding president sean parker has admitted that the thought behind the company was: how do we consume as much of your time and conscious attention as possible? So the powers that be know about dopamine and know how to exploit its effects
on us almost to perfection.
The cambridge analytica study showed some insane data on this. Upon a certain number of likes, fb could accurately profile you and know more about you than you know yourself! Safe to say, we need to find an alternative to being driven by dopamine to the tune of the highest bidders. All of them cause physical, social, and psychological harm.
Dopamine’s biggest attribute however isn’t to give pleasure, but to give pleasure when we encounter things that are new and unexpected and exciting. The bigger the surprise, the more dopamine our brain releases. The greatest high is when we encounter an outcome that’s better than what we expected. That feeling of new love? That RUSH? that’s not love that’s you High on dopamine. And when the novelty of the new love wears out, so
does the dopamine. Dopamine makes you fall in love – and out of it! At least the passion version of love.
Scientists have been working on a theory that proposes that our brain divided all information into two categories, near and far. Everything that is close to us, the things we can touch, see and feel at any moment, falls into the ‘near category’.
Anything that’s out of our reach, figuratively or literally falls into the far category. Dopamine is designed by evolution to excite you about everything that falls into the ‘Far’ category and motivates you to pursue them It encourages humans to take that little (or a lot) more risk, to push the boundary to achieve/desire more. This
all sounds great, so what’s the hitch?
Our solution lies in what author Daniel Z Lieberman calls the H&N chemicals. The here and Now chemicals. You may have heard about some of them, substances like serotonin, endorphins, oxytocin, and
endocannabinoids. They are all about enjoying the things in the present moment. They are active when you’re working out, dancing, having sex, eating
good food, or watching a beautiful sunset. Ever hear of the runners high? That’s a H&N cocktail at its best. Brain circuits that produce H&N’s tend to
compete with and even suppress the production of dopamine. When you find yourself in a stable long-term relationship, your brain produces less dopamine and more chemicals like oxytocin. Conversely, when you’re CRAZY in love, your serotonin levels drop below usual. Exercise, working out, playing a sport, and being active, are the BIGGEST form of regular and balance production of H&N chemicals and Dopamine. It is the most natural form of creating a dopamine control circuit. True happiness lies in finding this balance.
As an organization, and as a philosophy, e believe in being active, physically and mentally, and living life off the back of H&N chemicals over dopamine. As a business, we know that dopamine-based forms of
entertainment, are temporary in nature. The customer will keep wanting, bigger, better, and more! That’s why we stay away from entertainment-based engagements, like arcades, movies, etc.
We rely on our customers getting a high every time they run, play or work out on ‘Here and Now’ chemicals, rooting them to the present moment and bringing them the sense of euphoria that they control and cannot be manipulated. One of the
core tenants of business revolves around this philosophy and hence the tag lines in our clubs – POWER to the PEOPLE!