What are we really living for? Some people say it is for love, for ideals, for money, for a better life, for all the beautiful things worth pursuing. Like many people, I pursue what I believe to be meaningful. But what is meaning?
Before we figure out what the meaning is, what is the perceptual experience? We use our eyes, ears, skin, nose and tongue to sense information about our environment, which is then translated into electrical signals and sent to the brain, which then makes judgments about the environment based on the perceived signals and makes physiological adjustments accordingly. For example, when you see rich and attractive food, your brain sends corresponding instructions to make you desire and act to obtain food. When you eat the food that your body needs, your brain will release dopamine, which can make you feel excited and happy, in order to reward you for the behavior that you need to replenish your body.
When you’re playing a game or watching a movie or listening to music, your brain also releases hormones that act as stimulants. These reward hormones (dopamine, endorphins) give you a high, and you become addicted to it. You use this behavior repeatedly to stimulate your receptors for more and longer periods of pleasure. And humans get pleasure from more than just eating and playing. Smoking, drinking, gambling, socializing, romantic relationships, sexual behavior, drug use, even work and career, all of these behaviors are for pleasure, all of these desires are formed by the temptation of hormones. So the question is again, is there a difference between a person who only wants to satisfy desires, and a drug addict?
You know, we already have phenylethylamine in our brains, and brain receptors are stimulated by phenylethylamine to make dopamine, and phenylethylamine, which has the same generic name as methamphetamine — meth!
We give the pleasure we seek a term called meaning, and that term is packaged in the same way that drug addiction works!
It’s hard to believe, I don’t even want to believe, that what we work for, what we pursue, what we believe in, is driven by a compound that’s
exactly like crystal meth! Now, do you still have meaning? Does it make sense?
All first-time drug users do not buy their own drugs, but are encouraged to try them.
So again, who puts desire in our minds? What makes us spend our lives fulfilling these desires by hook or by crook? The answer is 3.2 billion base pairs — DNA
DNA gives us appetite, lust, sex. Appetite satisfies its need to make proteins, physical desire satisfies its need to survive, and sexual desire satisfies its need to reproduce and mutate. When we satisfy these needs in OUR DNA, receptors in the brain reward us (hormones) in accordance with the instructions that our DNA has already given us.
We are essentially vectors of DNA, and in order for us to be useful to it, it has to first install a program called desire that gives the organism everything it needs for its DNA for pleasure. Just as adults use candy to trick children into doing what they want and working hard, DNA uses hormones to stimulate us.
Are we just living for the sake of candy, like children? I think not, the child who is seduced by candy will grow up, one day even without candy, he will be spontaneously strong and hard.
The human ability to deal with complex logical relationships is not just for sensory gratification. When humans grow up, the reward of candy may not be so important anymore!
But, how can we grow up… ?