How Excessive Consumption Drives A Neurological State Of Emptiness.

Ruben Smit - March 16, 2020

A neurological perspective on the enlightenment we're so desperately looking for.

In the most basic explanation, there are two (we leave oxytocin out of the equation) neurotransmitters that regulate mood and emotional well-being: dopamine and serotonin.

Dopamine comes from the brain and plays a central role in the reward system, controlling desire, motivation and cravings. Serotonin is situates in the gut and -next to being very important for digestion-, regulates mood and emotions, cognitions and concentration. Slichtly simplistic said: Dopamine is short term, Serotonin is long term. Dopamine is reward, serotonin is happiness.

Overly stimulating dopamine, causes levels of serotonin to go down, and this is where it all goes wrong. It leaves an empty feeling "in the gut" and a craving for more. And obviously, going for more only  inhibits serotonin even further. Creating a state of anxiety that inhibits both.

Our modern-day society revolves around excessive consumption.

This includes, but is not limited to, alcohol abuse, gambling, trading, fast food, social media, sugar, unboxing, on-demand purchases, consumer identities, fast fashion, likes and shares, traveling, selfies, gaming, unlimited timelines, insta stories, eating. These are powerfully amplified by simple advertising techniques,  and behavioral mechanisms, playing into the innate desire for identity building and the rapidly addopted lifestyles of immediate gratification. Creating a race to the bottom few people realize they're in.

So even though most of us don't know that much of our state of emptiness has been fuelled by this simple cognitive downward spiral, we do started "feeling something in the gut". Exsessive consumption leaves us indifferent and empty, and we’re actively starting to look for a way out.

Looking for a better neurological balance. Searching for a more enlightened reality. 

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