Tuesday, July 3, 2012

It's the 'Wanting' that Drives our Behavior, Not the 'Having'

Also, when I talk about expectations I mean in a brain/behavior sense. Our society - Europe and US and increasingly China and elsewhere - is habituated to high stimulation and high consumption. The key point I've learned from studying neuroscience and evolutionary biology is that it's the 'wanting' that drives our behavior, not the 'having'. And in our fast paced, gadget saturated world, our neural high water marks keep getting reset higher and higher. Every day we wake up expecting/needing a certain amount of dopamine/neural stimulation - and our culture has set us up to get these brain chemicals by consuming and competing for status using resource intensive ways. On a world with finite resources this is a problem as everyday people who already have everything they need, strive to get 'more'. This 'more' ends up being taken from other people, other species, and other generations. We have to find ways to get our evolutionary derived brain 'cocktails' in more benign ways. This, combined with the energy/credit constraints we face, is why I label our situation a 'longage of expectations', as opposed to a 'shortage of energy'. - Alexander Ač

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