The Bicameral Mind
I remember watching a YouTube video last summer which explains that the “human mind doesn’t know what’s right and what’s wrong. It only knows what’s easy and what’s wrong”.
To some extent, I agree with it. Because if brains actually knew what’s wrong and right, then there would be no crimes at all. Everyone would live a righteous life. However, crimes do exists.
I’ve always wondered about the real reasons behind addictions. Why do people who smoke become dependent on it? The same goes for other addictions like watching movies or TV shows or drinking alcohol?
Whenever we try something for the first time, it is difficult for the brain to comprehend what’s going on. Our brain’s feedback system primarily functions with the help of three chemicals: Dopamine, Serotonin, and Oxytocin. A healthy brain has it all balanced. Such chemicals are released when we do a task that we like — the one's brain finds it easy to do. And these chemicals are necessary for the functioning of the mind. Because without a feedback system, we will never feel anything.
All the psychopaths and pathological liars exist because they have mastered the art of manipulating humans. They might know that what they are doing is wrong, but they still do it to get the chemicals mentioned in the previous paragraph. You do one task, the chemicals are released. You do it again, chemicals are released. On and on, and once you are dependent on it, you keep repeating the task. At times, to an extent that you cannot live without it. Sherlock Holmes always used to act crazy and get high on drugs if he didn’t have a case to solve. Again, he’s Sherlock Holmes, the most brilliant (fictional) man alive. And yet, he gets high on drugs. All for the chemicals in the brains. We can also observe this in the case of movies’ addiction. Let us say that you are proficient in Hindi and you watch Hindi movies. Someone shows you an English movie, the chances for you to like it is very less. You might even fall asleep. Because your brain takes time to understand it. However, after watching around 10 movies, you might eventually like Hollywood too.
This writing is not to explain why smoking or drinking is bad. Thanks to the accepted norms in society, you might already be aware of what this biochemistry lesson is trying to tell til now. Now, the direction of the article changes.
We live a single life. And we should live it properly. In the age of abundance and targeted advertisements, it very easy to get addicted, distracted, and lose track of our purpose in life.
Whenever we lose, someone else wins. Likewise, whenever we get addicted, huge corporations like — Facebook, Google, Amazon, Netflix win. To be honest, they want you to get addicted. That is why we must always seek pleasures in complex things. Because it captures our attention for a long time, and as we break it down step by step, the corresponding chemicals are released which also keeps our mind healthy.
I feel very lucky to have known all these things which helps me understand what happens after the curtain calls. I have decided to read and understand complex convoluted literature and break it down into simple articles like these. Overtime when sufficient content is written, I will publish it into a book. It is a long shot, and daydreamy, but at least it is much healthy than watching Netflix 10–12 hours a day.
In the end, I’d like to quote Seneca
“As long as you live, learn how to live.”