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The brain chemicals that make us feel good evolved to reward survival action, not to flow all the time for no reason. Dips in our happy chemicals (dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, and endorphin) are an inevitable part of life. But in today’s world, you learn to the dips as evidence of a disorder. And you learn to blame “our society” for failing to make you happy and for failing to cure your disorder. People are trained to believe that they are broken and society is broken.
Basic biology shows that society cannot make you happy. The happy chemicals are released in short spurts, so you always have to do more to get more. They’re controlled by neural pathways built from your own past experience. Managing your brain chemistry is a complex skill that humans have struggled to learn since the beginning of time. You don’t build the skill when you’re taught that society should manage your brain for you. No greater good is served by that message.
This book shows how politics has triumphed over biology. It is not about politics in the contemporary sense of electing leaders, but politics in the timeless sense of saying what’s popular to win support. Promising to make people happy with quick fixes is popular. Telling people that they are responsible for their own brain is not popular.
The truth is impolitic, so if you rely on information shaped by politics, you will not learn the facts about your happy chemicals. This book has the information you need to find your power over your biology despite the inevitable politics of life.
You will find out why your happy chemicals are meant to dip, and why there’s no easy way to spark them. You will learn about the Rousseauian theory that happiness is the default state of nature, so unhappiness must be caused by “our society.” You will see how this theory came to dominate THE Science, and how you can build the skill of managing your brain regardless of what others do.
My Sicilian ancestors came from a world where “crimes of passion” were not punished. You could get away with murder by saying you were upset. I do not want to live in a world where anyone who’s upset can kill me with impunity. I want to live in a world that honors our power to manage our own brain.