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Our World Today: The Paradox of Choice and Dopamine

I can't think of any other period in Human History where people suffered so much from emotional problems. Well, maybe they did suffer back then too but we just didn't have the tools to measure it or the statistics to show it or the media to inform us. But nonetheless I can surely say that as a Millenial the amount of people complaining about their mental issues is far more prevalent than ever. And I can partly attribute this to the rise of the social media and technology. To begin with, I am not technophobic or even an old-school romantic. We have this tendency of assigning labels when someone makes an argument and instead of paying attention to the argument we rush to name-calling and ad hominems. Well, even you call someone technophobic or racist or xenophobic or sexist that does not make his argument any less valid however.

We should all thank technology for serving humanity and making our lives easier but there are some concerns I would like to address. I can see a new trend which came with the rise of the social media and as more tasks are becoming less manual and more automatic. Of course anyone will prefer pushing a button than doing real manual work and on a surface level there is nothing wrong with that. But has anyone gave a thought on what are the side-effects of automaticity and lack of manual labour.

I generally see this new generation displaying a total lack of patience and a tremendous need for instant gratification. And this is exactly the problem with the growing technology. An inpatient generation which wants everything right now. Deprive them from what they want or delay them from having what they crave for and suddenly they crawl in their bed in a fetus position having depressive episodes or cry like sissy babies. Try switching someone's wifi off and you can see what kind of a person she is and if you want to marry that girl :) In no more than a few milliseconds she will start whining and ask you to reset the rooter or she will call her telephone company and start complaining about their poor services or even change her internet provider company to something faster.

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Modern generation has it easy. That is why we have so many complainers about pretty much everything. Because if you are taught that you can simply have everything with the push of a button and with no effort then how is anyone equipped to face life's great challenges? If you are unwilling to work hard and wait? I recently placed a weight management fat loss product for selling on ebay and I could ship that in no more than a week and the buyer refused to buy it because 4-5 working days was too much for her. Well, ok if you are trying to lose weight really fast I can understand where you are coming from and your lack of patience and if you can have it now why wait for later? Right? Ok, I can understand the logic, sometimes, why waiting for something when you can have it right now?

Actually there are numerous studies showing that young students who learned to delay their instant gratification were more successful in life from those who were impulsive and could not prolong their short-term satisfaction. People who are after a long-term goal and they do not seek for an instant reward are more likely to succeed. Think about though our modern fast world: Fast food, fast-paced sandwich courses, learn a new language in a month, master a skill in a couple of weeks, easy and fast loans, quick cash, quick sex, becoming rich fast, order now online, find your soulmate fast in speed-dating websites, easily accessible knowledge, plagiarized and copied work, superficially posted quotes from the most important philosophers and writers, easily-digestable popular science knowledge. Even 'easy' and superficial relationships and friendships, friends and acquaintances that are easily replaceable. In one word: Easy. No need to wait. No need to work. I have even fall for this. Want an extra income? Insert your email here and we ll send you all the info. In a month you will quit your job. You do not need to work hard. How many people have joined steemit and they instantly begun whining that their high quality posts are not even noticed and nobody appreciates the quality of their work and that nobody pays attention to their superior 'intelligence' because average posts make more money than they do.

Automatic tasks and zero effort screws our dopamine system. That's the reason the social media are so addictive. You are at the beach and instead of staring at the horizon you start to have withdrawal symptoms and you act like a junkie who wants an instant thrill so you log on facebook from your cell phone, or twitter or instagram or steemit. And this is what happens. Notifications, inbox messages, friend requests, selfies, check-ins, tags or checking if your steemit post has reached 100 dollars in an hour, its pretty much like a hamster or a monkey pressing a lever to receive some juice. The dopamine rush of the unexpected is unbelievable. They go online to see something unexpected. More like when you open your fridge when you are hungry, again and again, as if a chocolate cake will appear in front you. Notifications, messages and watching different numbers going up and down on steemit is like playing the slot-machine.

People are very easily bored. They can't handle staying alone even when they are driving. They are that uncomfortable and alien to their own company. And this brings a lot of problems with a generation which wants everything really fast at a psychological level. You want to send something to me? Send via messenger, email, viper, skype. Are you looking for something? Billions of pages can help you. Looking for something to buy for your garden? You do not have merely two options to choose from. You have trillions. And what does this causes? Anxiety of course. 100 flavors for ice-cream, 300 tastes for OREOs, 50 beers to choose from, 100 brands of cereal to choose from, 500 different anti-virus softwares for your pc, 1000 ways of cleaning your cache, 2000 pages of how to refurbish your cottage, 300 ways to reduce cellulite, 100 ways to lose fat in 5 days, 200 ways to make money fast, 300 books on how to build muscle, 200 pages that want to inform you about blockchain technology and 1000 pages with similarly-sounding names want to rip-you off, thousands of discounts and saving money for every product, buy 1 get 1 for free, save 30% if you purchase something in the next 5 days or buy it even more cheap from Amazon if you choose the free shipping option.

Barry Schwartz | The Paradox of Choice

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Personally every time I go to a shopping mall or for groceries, I feel like I am hypnotized. As if I am bombarded with so much information that my brain cannot handle and its about to burnout. And this continues on-line with hundreds of pop-ups everywhere from so many different sources. How does the brain copes with all that information? How does it choose what to filter-out and to leave only the important ones? And I sometimes wonder why do people are in a so much hurry? I presume that we all prefer automatic tasks to save time of course. But what do people do with that spare time? Are they saving time for a walk on the beach or for a road trip or for some time outdoors relaxing or are they saving work more?​

And people wonder why they are depressed or why are suffering a burnout and are highly stressed. With a civilization obsessed so much with speed and multi-taking?. I can't take anyone seriously who says that he is stressed when he tries to eat, drink, smoke, talking to his cell, while driving, charges his tablet, is on the GPS for directions, types on facebook and sends emails at the same time. You have 100 tabs open in your head and you wonder why you are anxious?

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The paradox of choice has considerably made us less happy. If you only have one or two choices then you learn how to compromise. Its much more cognitively simple. It is A or B. But if you are bombarded with 200 options, it becomes really stressful. And if you fail at something and you know that you had 200 more options this can really mess with your mind. If you have only one option then you swallow your failure and realize that you couldn't do anything else.

I believe that our fast-paced multi-tasking modern world alienates us from what we are. We are animals and we are not meant for this lifestyle for too long. And this is why most jobs are alienating. Especially those ones which seem like a savior to us, the working from home, or spend 12 hours behind a screen. Our bodies are evolved to move and they are meant for casual labour jobs, for physical work. I think that most psychological issues are due to lack of physical activity and labour work. Imagine working one day outdoors shirtless and do something you can produce with your own hands. Where you can see the outcome of your own efforts right in front of you and not working for someone else and where you never get to see the direct rewards of your own efforts. Most jobs might become mind-numbing, repetitive, boring, with a lack of creativity and the inability to cultivate your own skills and potentials. We usually have very little control to what we produce or the end of production. I don't want to sound like a Marxist but it's tremendously important to be able to appreciate the fruits of your own labour.

If I could take half the people who complain about their depression on social media and treat them with a day outdoors in the woods cutting trees until they are physically exhausted to the point of burning all their adrenaline and cortisol, half of the pharmaceutical companies would shut-down.

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