The morning began as it always did. Blanket aside, sleepy gait, morning ritual, and the usual way to work. Even if the place of work is the desk in the next room. Every successful coach screams about fighting this system. But in fact, you don't need to fight it. It's enough to understand how it works and use it to your benefit. That's what neurohacking is all about.
Dopamine mining in the 21st century: inflation
Huxley's Brave New World is a super-concentrated utopia in which sources of quick gratification have possessed people. A button come off? Buy a new piece. Food, sex, entertainment - everything is calibrated and available. Even social elevators are predetermined from birth and literally written into your genocode. But let's move away from fiction and look at reality. In it, cyberpsychology and society are closely intertwined into a single structure that generates myths, supports them, and brings them to life.
The whole marketing industry is swinging a huge pendulum of neurohormones. At its highest point is dopamine. And at its lowest point, corticoliberin. It is the fear hormone, and slogans press it: "offer is limited", "the goods are running out", "discount for the first 10 buyers":
- The fear of being inferior to others hits our nerves because the loss of social status is comparable to death. If a major official/banker/top manager loses his position, the probability of his suicide increases many times over. It seems to us that work remains the only lifeline, without which we will be doomed to die in misery.
- Technological advances have spawned a synthesis of psychological mechanisms with advances in cybernetics. Today, cyberpsychology understands how to engage a person in absorbing material. How to create an interest that spurs one to watch a new series, go through another rink, or spend hours watching ten-second videos of cats and songs.
- Millions of years of starvation still outweigh 200 years of conventional satiety. Calories have become more dangerous than lead bullets. We're like primitive humans opening fire. Only we're not just warming ourselves by the fire. The problem is that the fire has become too much, and we are literally burning alive.
Even though modern life is safe enough, the body refuses to accept it. Any lunge towards our safety or any threat to our social status is met with hostility. And the brain starts looking for solutions.
Marketers present them on a silver platter.
Speed is the main adversary
We want to solve problems quickly. We also want achievements to stay with us for a long time. But what exactly they should look like, we have no idea. To be more precise, we stopped having about since childhood. Back then, we knew exactly the charm of the very stick, an unusual stone, or could wander for hours among a few trees while our brains drew incredible pictures of grandeur and adventure.
But now we look up to seeming authorities who are slightly different from us. Authoritarians who broadcast the same things from every screen:
- Only true professionals use this smartphone. The super camera, the incredible processor, the screen with the number of colors your eye can't distinguish anyway. But this device becomes obsolete after a year, and you must make your next purchase to get back on track.
- Want to be fashionable? Here are the expensive brands. Here are ready-to-wear collections. Here are the dressed mannequins. Just take the same and enjoy! You don't need to tell everyone you are rich and fashion-savvy. Just wear the things we've already prepared for you.
- Have you heard of such a thing as constant self-development? We already spend a third of our lives sleeping! Don't waste time being bored. Boredom and procrastination are a virus worse than COVID-19. Here's a new series, a new movie, a new game. Give your brain a chance to solve interesting puzzles and sit down to work afterward. Develop your cultural experience. Play games, pumping up your game character. Just for your own sake, don't fall into laziness. Otherwise, unnecessary thoughts will start popping up in your head.
Add to this shopping on the Internet, delivery services, social networking sites, and a man charged with caffeine who rushes through a maze of entertainment devices in pursuit of the horizon line that looms on every screen. And there is no way to get to it.
Neurohacking of dopamine sources
So, so far, the situation looks extremely unpleasant. There is a huge target on everyone's forehead, into which a beam of information stimuli is relentlessly beating. It is almost impossible to escape, but there is a way out. Neurohacking is not about taking grandmother's drugs to enhance brain activity. It is a way of life formed from understanding cognitive-behavioral principles and working not with the form of stimuli but with their essence.
Power of habits
"Step on the system". It applies to people with any type of addiction. Alcohol, drugs, and gambling become a natural ritual, like brushing your teeth or the route to work. To beat the system in the literal sense of the word is impossible. After all, fighting it will already be a reminder of its existence. Therefore, use switching:
- A notepad or text file in which you write down 3-5 events every day that brought you a moment of happiness. A beautiful sunset, a walk after the office, a dog you petted, a delicious lunch you made yourself.
- Allowing boredom. Boredom and procrastination are the same as a fever during a cold. It's only worth bringing it down when it's critical. Boredom indicates that you are doing something meaningless. And, quite possibly, there are more productive areas that need your attention. So it's worth giving them a little more attention.
- Cleansing. I think you know the feeling of not wanting to go to the shower. And then you don't want to get out of it. Same thing with dopamine. Walking on the landing with your smartphone turned off and not even music in your headphones... It seems like torture, but it will be extremely difficult to complete once you start the walk.
For starters, you don't have to take it seriously. You're not struggling. You're not giving up habits. You are trying a new way of life. Everything is available to you, and nothing is beyond your control. This is the basis for the principles of Stoicism, which serves as a great balancing act when categorizing personal values.
Shifting focus: what is stigmatized by marketers
What's written above is a child's warm-up. You know, like morning exercise compared to professional sports. Only your main competition is all the mass marketing. Because to find happiness, you don't need marketing attributes. Comparing yourself with images on advertising posters is similar to biting your nails or lips. It is a kind of 21st-century self-harm.
Cyberpsychology studies the tools used in the media by people and companies. These tools dictate the precepts of a successful, productive world. But their status quo can be disrupted by an alternate view conjured up in the mind:
- You don't need a new keyboard, a smartphone, or a branded notepad to be successful. You can afford all of those things. But it has no power over you. Buy things to get a dopamine boost. But remember that they are only things, and you can easily gift them to loved ones. Or part with them with no regrets.
- Happiness, like success, cannot be an attainable goal. Like, for example, a profession. It seems that here I will become a freelancer and will type on a chaise lounge on the island. But the screen glares, the charge is not enough, typing is uncomfortable, and it is generally hot. Happiness, success, and freelancing are states, but not an end in themselves. And it is almost impossible to acquire them.
- Your lifestyle will always seem miserable to some people. And someone will be shocked by its luxury. As Peter H. Diamandis wrote, there are 2 kinds of poverty. Absolute, when you have nothing to eat, and relative, when everyone else has the 12th iPhone, and you have only the 11th.
You already have everything you need to experience pleasure and happiness. But it's like comparing a home chandelier to the 3D hologram from the Blade Runner remake... Advertising will always be brighter and more attractive.
We will never own the products of the marketing world but only rent them, committing to changing sets of clothes, appliances, and even our personal data. They are left on a hundred websites and no longer belong to us but to supposedly secure databases.
Is dopamine gluttony so bad?
It may seem like a fierce criticism of modern society and consumer culture. But I'm not. It's more of an illumination of the situation as a whole. Marketing does put pressure on the mind, but companies can't do otherwise. But we can. There is already a culture of alcohol consumption in society. So why stop at just that? A culture of consuming gaming content, media content, marketing content...
The excess of stimuli pushing on the dopamine receptors can really be bypassed. It's enough to choose your own goals, instead of being guided by marketing tricks. And yes, you just took a ride on the dopamine-corticoliberine swing.