Robert Lustig, a neuroscientist at the University of California San Francisco, nailed today’s great sickness in his latest book, “The Hacking of the American Mind, The Science Behind the Corporate Takeover of our Bodies and Brains“.
In this interview with a UCSF PhD student, the Brooklyn-raised 60 year-old physician explains how, through a marketing derived to propaganda, “we have mistaken the experience of pleasure for the experience of happiness, and so we continue to drive our interest in pleasure, at the expense of our happiness”. In other words, how the corporate world is using our dopamine to sell its product, destroying our level of seratonine, the substance of happiness.
This applies in a specific time and place where, on one hand, giant American corporations make gigantic profits off people’s attention and appetite for destructive pleasures, and on the other hand, people engage in their self-destruction through these products apparently providing pleasure (sugar, porn, heroine, etc.).
But of course, in between, a bunch of people learned to use those tools to gain something – a certain form of celebrity – off the weakening of others. And they’re not ready to give it up.
But in the face of obesity, opioid addiction, porn addiction, internet addiction, etc., the overall US population saw its life expectancy drop for two years in a row, while its antidepressants consumption keep increasing. Through his words, Robert Lustig offers an incredible opportunity to understand the problem and regain some liberty, before this expands to more and more countries.
He suggests a pretty simple Epicurean life, translated into a very American-like method : “the 4 Cs”. Connect in an interpersonal way, contribute (“pleasure is taking, happiness is giving”), cope (through sleep, exercice and no multi-tasking), and cook ! One may add, create, just because it’s fun to draw, make a song or build something.
And on a side note, Lustig is a nickname for a person of a cheerful disposition… a merry dude indeed.