Dopamine Nation: Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence: Dr. Anna Lembke

  • The Next Big Idea - DOPAMINE NATION: Why the Modern World Puts Us All at Risk for Addiction
    In “Dopamine Nation: Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence,” Dr. Anna Lembke says today’s superabundance of pleasurable stimuli makes us all vulnerable to…

    Podcast episode from The Next Big Idea directly pertinent to discussions on this forum.

    I'm more and more coming to the idea that homeostasis or "the hedonic set-point" *is* ataraxia and aponia, and that was one of Epicurus's innovations to see that homeostasis is a kind of pleasure and not just some neutral state between pleasure and pain.

    Listen and share your thoughts.

  • I think Elayne gives a good answer in her article ‘On Pain, Pleasure, and Happiness’.

    Humans are not inherently insatiable.

  • I listened to half of "Dopamine Nation". When asked if addictions can ever be beneficial, she says she uses a different label, such a passion. She also says that you know something is an addiction if the rest of the world turns pale in comparison, and you have too narrow of a focus on one behavior. It becomes maladaptive and you have to increase your activity more and more in order to get the same feelings of pleasure.

  • I think it is important to seek enjoyment from a wide assortment of activities and people, so that you don't become dependent on any one thing or any one person. Happiness doesn't come from any one thing, but from many things.

  • I haven't yet made it very far into the podcast, but after around minute 23 or so she gave what to me could be a good description of vain or unnecessary desires. Isn't this, after all, what addictions and insatiability are?

  • I don't remember that part (and it doesn't look like I can fast forward to that point).

    Possibly addictions are used to deal with the anxiety and stress that arises from chasing after vain and unnecessary desires. But most of "mainstream" modern life is an un-ending parade of the vain and unnecessary.

  • Addicted to power, addicted to money, addicted to work, addicted to alcohol.... Power, money, work and alcohol aren't bad in themselves, nor are the desires to attain them to some degree. I think part of what she was saying in the podcast is that what is not addictive for some people can be addictive for other people. I would add to that this is where wisdom comes in: the ability to recognize your personal limits (there's that word again!). Knowing these limits can inform one as to what is vain/unnecessary for their own well being.

  • The latest episode of Lucretius Today (or use it "Torquatus" Today now ;) ) talked about this, from my perspective, with the discussion of the "love of money" for its own sake. If the acquisition of money is just to acquire more money (ie, you're not making money to work toward some achievable goal), there's no limit to that desire. You can never be satisfied with how much money you have.