Sunday, 30. July 2017
My A.J. Simpsons conjecture

I haven't read much about a psychological theory of non-substance addiction similar to this, so here goes writing it up.

The axiom this hypothesis bases itself on is Freud's Pleasure Principle. I think it isn't hard to agree that fear is a most basic emotion in humans, and that fear from pain drives us toward pleasure.

What does the "A.J." stand for? Well the "A." is for Attention, and/or its seemingly more civilised variant Appreciation. One built-in way in humans to achieve freedom from pain seems to me to be the attention of other humans, preferrably ending in some form of deeper understanding. Without it, we feel painfully alone.

As a rule, I suspect, people have built one - or even several - more or less smoothly running inner appreciation engine(s) by the time they reach the end of teenage. Some way to generate a feeling of being understood/accepted, perhaps even loved. The latter may even end up in constant "proof" in the forms of promotion, gifts or sex. I think it may be our job as adults to identify which engine we use, and whether it runs cleanly/sustainingly for the rest of what we are (e.g. our health).

Unfortunately the brain seems to easily pick up new ways to "assimilate" at least the feeling of (shared?) appreciation all the time. One becomes in danger of becoming addicted, a junkie - the "J.".

Recently I find myself watching random YouTube clips every day, something I never used to do until about a month ago. It seems to be my brain harking back to an old addiction of mine - T.V.. I got rid of my last T.V. about 18 years ago, and it gave me loads of time and space to develop new interests - i.a. I read a lot more "slow news", e.g. newspapers, since then. But my brain is media mad, and so seems to always go for moving pictures over static stuff...

It could be anything, even binge-watching the Simpsons again from the beginning.

This propensity of my brain to seek recyclable moments of seeming attention - hey, there's moving/talking people in the room! - is harder to kick than any substance addiction I have had, or may still have (sugar?). Simply also because it's so well hidden.

So, should this not just be me - but a generally homo-sapient feature - pay attention!

(The logo is borrowed from the Jamrain site,
which I hereby endorse, after superficially scanning its offers.)

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