Toxic lncentives

sufi

lala
Why is all the things we like so damaging, sweet crispy food, alcohol and drugs, and so on even screen time is like a reward
Of course the answer is obvious: capitalism,
But what is the alternative? A kiss from yr beloved, a smile across the dancefloor, a swallow's path across the blue?
 

Clinamenic

θερμοδυναμικός καπιταλιστής
I think perhaps this is a case where negative examples hog our attention more than the positive examples - but perhaps there is something to be said for being drawn to things that are known to be bad, as an act of quotidian rebellion.

Consumerism as a culture I do think amplifies some of this, whether it’s fast food commercials or something notionally healthy like a Peloton. To a large extent the potential for profit overrides considerations of whether the consumer is actually benefiting from the commercial interaction.
 

sufi

lala
I think perhaps this is a case where negative examples hog our attention more than the positive examples - but perhaps there is something to be said for being drawn to things that are known to be bad, as an act of quotidian rebellion.

Consumerism as a culture I do think amplifies some of this, whether it’s fast food commercials or something notionally healthy like a Peloton. To a large extent the potential for profit overrides considerations of whether the consumer is actually benefiting from the commercial interaction.
Yes that's the obvious bit
 

Clinamenic

θερμοδυναμικός καπιταλιστής
The tricky bit is finding better incentives
Meditating on how gratification does not amount to a more fulfilling life, letting this realization crystalize beyond a remote platitude, into a grokkable truth.
 

Clinamenic

θερμοδυναμικός καπιταλιστής
Maybe we're just wired up for short term rewards because survival's a moment to moment thing.
I'm inclined to agree here - I think baking a longer-term scope into your intuition is a concerted effort, much more (self-)nurture than nature.
 

blissblogger

Well-known member
It's neurology and brain chemistry, rather than capitalism per se - if the endocrine system and limbic system worked differently, then capitalism would exploit those fault lines

Mind you, in completely different but equally immiserating social arrangements, people resort to damaging highs
e.g. alcohol self-poisoning in Communist Europe

Before industrialism people used to get wasted or gorge themselves given the opportunity. when did sugar arrive in the Old World? 16th Century?
Elizabeth the 1st's teeth were blackened with decay

I was going to say it goes beyond neurology to the human condition (thinking that animals never do anything other than what is good for them, physiologically). But then aren't there examples of animals getting addictions? Lab rats triggering and retriggering the cocaine dose and ignoring the food dish, just wasting away. Seems like biology has short circuits built in to it, or do I mean short cuts.
 

sufi

lala
It's neurology and brain chemistry, rather than capitalism per se - if the endocrine system and limbic system worked differently, then capitalism would exploit those fault lines

Mind you, in completely different but equally immiserating social arrangements, people resort to damaging highs
e.g. alcohol self-poisoning in Communist Europe

Before industrialism people used to get wasted or gorge themselves given the opportunity. when did sugar arrive in the Old World? 16th Century?
Elizabeth the 1st's teeth were blackened with decay

I was going to say it goes beyond neurology to the human condition (thinking that animals never do anything other than what is good for them, physiologically). But then aren't there examples of animals getting addictions? Lab rats triggering and retriggering the cocaine dose and ignoring the food dish, just wasting away. Seems like biology has short circuits built in to it, or do I mean short cuts.
i suppose it's futile to try and expect that we could steer capitalism towards exploiting less damaging rewards, or is there something inherent in monetising (e.g. a beautiful sunset) that debases it and us

and intoxication is a funny one anyhow - it could almost be imposed as a punishment instead of an incentive - debilitating and moronising, all sorts of bad side effects from most substances, if it wasnt so fun.
 

you

Well-known member
There is a sniffy slovenian take. Rewards are arbitrary - coke, sex, praise, it doesn't matter. But why are we burdened with a reward neuro-protocol that puts reward first and our own well-being second? Pre-programmed self destruct. Death haunts pleasure.

Reward is addictive, but not all addictions are rewards.
 

Clinamenic

θερμοδυναμικός καπιταλιστής
There is a sniffy slovenian take. Rewards are arbitrary - coke, sex, praise, it doesn't matter. But why are we burdened with a reward neuro-protocol that puts reward first and our own well-being second? Pre-programmed self destruct. Death haunts pleasure.

Reward is addictive, but not all addictions are rewards.
I think well-being in this sense could be considered an evolutionary spandrel, largely incidental as far as the subsistence of biotic matter is concerned.
 

Clinamenic

θερμοδυναμικός καπιταλιστής
*In a sniffy slovenian accent*

All of our, desires, are nothing more, than, chemical explosions, preconfigured, to lead us, to, moments of gratification, which, fade away, as quickly as they emerge. I want this, I get near it, I feel good, I get it, the feeling goes away, I want that now, and so on and so on.
 

Clinamenic

θερμοδυναμικός καπιταλιστής
Could you expand?
Yeah I just don't think the evolutionary fitness of brain chemistry ultimately favors psychological well-being, but rather favors neurochemical scenarios which happen to result in survival - which to me is a bit of a truism, IE whatever ends up surviving is what can be considered "favored" by the fitness.

As far as I suspect, these "winning" scenarios can also happen to entail well-being, spiritual peace, etc - but these kinds of health factors do strike me as somewhat superfluous to the mere imperatives of biotic matter subsisting across time.
 
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