View RSS Feed

Memories of the 28th Century

Happiness

Rating: 4 votes, 5.00 average.
.
.
The more I looked into happiness and thought about it, the more interesting it became. In one way happiness is a set of chemical rewards that we get for doing things that are programmed into our genes as good. In another way happiness is drug addiction. And in yet another way it is a mode of communications. It is those, but it is also one of the things that ties humans together into families and communities. It isn't surprising that people become addicted to drugs that artificially enhance happiness. It is somewhat surprising that more people aren't addicted to such drugs, but there are better ways to get the same result, and those should be encouraged.

Happiness is a wonderful thing, and it is also very interesting. Fundamentally, happiness is determined by the amounts of certain neurotransmitters that are in certain receptors. The specific neurotransmitters are produced in the brain to serve as rewards for the body performing as intended and to encourage it to continue. This process arose through evolution to provide DNA with the faculties that it needed to develop as it wished or was condition to believe was best. In a more general way this is an example of payment for behavior. This is one of the several ways that we can see that the conscious mind is not the controlling agent of humans.

It isn't that we are controlled by outside influences, because we are controlled by those parts of ourselves that actually drive everything in our lives. The aims and motivations of the conscious and the unconscious parts of the mind may have different goals, but the unconscious part is the important one, because it knows what is going on

Or we could think of happiness as a common form of chemically induced delusion that keeps people from abandoning hope and simply stopping operations before the chain of cause and effect have driven someone as far as possible. If everything is working correctly, then there are more than enough neurotransmitters for the job, but some people don't produce enough on their own, so they ingest or absorb other chemicals to fill in the gap. Fortunately, there are many chemicals that will do the job to an adequate degree. Nicotine probably is the best, but it is usually taken by smoking, and the smoke can do damage and annoy some people. There are synthetic antidepressants that will work almost as well, and cocaine and opiates will also do an excellent job. But because they are filling in for brain chemicals that need to be provided constantly, the outside chemicals all are addictive in proportion with their effectiveness.

Those are the ways that are easy, but there are some other ways to replace or supplement those neurotransmitters that are quite effective but require more work. Most notably there is the matter of adding endorphins, which can be done by engaging in sexual activity, running, or doing yoga. Any of those activities will do the job, but they require work of some sort, but endorphins work that way; they are rewards for doing things that are good, and unlike opiates, which use the same receptors, they are legal. And humans sometimes become happy simply by acting as if they were. A forced smile becomes a real smile after a while. That can be convenient, and it costs less than drugs, which are the other way to become artificially happy, and it requires less work than running. At least running is a natural process, while artificial happiness is increasingly being seen as a problem.

Apparently there have been people who considered unhappiness a disease that had to be treated, even though it usually is simply the absence of happiness or a reaction to something unpleasant. Which seems especially odd to me, because different people experience and or express happiness in different ways. There are people who would look dangerous, if they went around with smiles on their faces; I'd wonder what sort of devilry they were up to, but it is more common for people to wonder why someone might go for hours on end without smiling.

As for the direct methods, there are four primary neurotransmitters that are associated with happiness, Endorphins, Serotonin, Oxytocin, and Dopamine. Endorphins are a morphine analog that reduces pain and stress, and the production of it is encouraged by sexual activity, running, and yoga (take your pick); Serotonin and Dopamine can be increased by nicotine, and Oxytocin is readily available as a nasal spray or from touching. Oxytocin is available without a prescription, but Dopamine does require a prescription, and it does not appear that Serotonin is available; although there are dietary supplements to encourage its production, so the nicotine patch is the way to increase those, or just buying some loose tobacco and dissolving the nicotine and drinking that would do the trick. But one could readily put together some days of happiness neurotransmitters for under a hundred dollars. Considering the price of cocaine these days, that's a good deal.

There seem to be negative effects to dopamine receptors that have picked up cocaine, so raising dopamine levels indirectly by using nicotine would be healthier. Except for the possibility of habituation, there is no major downside to adding to one's levels of the other happiness neurotransmitters, except for oxytocin. Dangers of Oxytocin include reports of changes in attitudes among men who used oxytocin, which is normally at low levels in men, and in pregnant women oxytocin can induce labor.

Using those easy steps would provide as much, or more, happiness as taking Heroin and Cocaine without the dangers, costs, and potential for criminal prosecution. They would also allow you to vary the amounts of the different materials to proportions that suited you, rather having an excess of one and a deficiency of another. But donít expect to avoid addiction, because humans are naturally addicted to the happiness neurotransmitters from birth.

Updated 12-21-2013 at 10:12 AM by PeterL

Categories
Uncategorized

Comments

  1. Buh4Bee's Avatar
    This makes complete sense, since you are looking for positive ways to produce decent chemicals in anotherwise possibly rottern brain.
  2. PeterL's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Buh4Bee
    This makes complete sense, since you are looking for positive ways to produce decent chemicals in anotherwise possibly rottern brain.
    Possibly rotten, but in most cases there are minor imbalances from time to time. I was thinking more about using the more direct and safer route to euphoria. Most drugs interfere with normal brain function, but nicotine simply adds a little that results in people feeling better. Smoking may be a bad idea, but the problem comes from inhaling the smoke, not from the nicotine. I am curious how good a euphoriant Oxycotin is; I have never used it, other than what my body produces.
  3. free's Avatar
    Happiness - real happiness, I mean - is a reacton of our mind to some nice experience. Anything else is just chemical reaction. Real happiness is not chemical and it has nothing to do with body. It is the change of the place where your mind usually is. That is, if you are not too firmly fixed to the materialistic way of accepting the world.
  4. PeterL's Avatar
    duplicate
    Updated 12-22-2013 at 02:56 PM by PeterL (dupe)
  5. PeterL's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by free
    Happiness - real happiness, I mean - is a reacton of our mind to some nice experience. Anything else is just chemical reaction. Real happiness is not chemical and it has nothing to do with body. It is the change of the place where your mind usually is. That is, if you are not too firmly fixed to the materialistic way of accepting the world.
    The reaction in the brain is a collection of chemical reactions. But it is goog to know that someone believes in spirit. On the other hand, Athena would not like you thinking that happiness is anything other than tha actions of some neurotransmitters.
  6. free's Avatar
    Athena is not mine and I am not hers. Why should I care what she says!
  7. PeterL's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by free
    Athena is not mine and I am not hers. Why should I care what she says!
    O.K., then ignore knowledge and wisdom, if you wish.
  8. free's Avatar
    It is not that simple. Nothing is black or white. Knowledge without character is no good, even if it comes from Athena. She was vain.
  9. PeterL's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by free
    It is not that simple. Nothing is black or white. Knowledge without character is no good, even if it comes from Athena. She was vain.
    Yes, when someone or some Goddess actually knows something, then he or She may feel overconfident. Knowledge without understanding what it means can be a problem.