Once, I was a big fan and a fanatic defender of MSG (or we call it ‘micin’ here). I argued that (it’s not me actually; just retelling what I read from the articles) MSG is completely OK. It is a natural substance and can be found in many ‘natural’ foods such as from tomatoes and mushrooms. And because of it, I (again, I just following the articles) therefore concluded that it is silly to blame MSG.
Until… I realized that sugar, fat, porn, and even social media, is basically ‘natural’. Their essence can be traced back to our primordial instincs. We love them because they are vital to our survival…. back then. Sugar and fat are precious nutrition and WERE scarce. Our ancestor needed to do hard work to find them, and after getting them, they were rewarded by the sweet and fatty tasty flavor. Who doesn’t like sweet? Almost everyone. Why? Because the ones who didn’t like it, they wouldn’t put their effort to hunt it, and they couldn’t get energy from it, and they died… without even had a chance to produce offsprings. The same principles apply to porn and social media too (and another things). Porn exploits our desire of sex, which is essential for reproduction, and social media exploits our desire to socialize. See? They are basically ‘natural’.
So, what’s wrong? The answer is… although the desires are natural, the environments or the contexts are artificial. We now live in a world where Malthusian nightmare are no longer a problem. We have the technology that enable us to mass-produce almost anything. Good bye scarcity! Is it a good thing? Not really! Our economic system of free enterprise that gives the people right to accumulate wealth by the so-called market mechanism induces them to find a way to effectively capturing the consumers. The easiest way to do that is, of course, by creating products that exploit their ‘natural’ desires. Our ‘natural’ desires, that was once a mechanism for survival, now become more like a bug in a computer program that enables the hackers to control the program. They are exploiting our bug!
But some of you might argue, “they might exploit our natural desires for their own interest, but if that’s what makes us feel good (happy?), where is the problem? “. Then I would answer, “There is more to life than feeling (artificially) good. Why? Because, first, what feels good at a point in our life can be bad in terms of our life continuum. We are myopic, because we can’t see the future, the consequences of our current act, clearly. We are subject to regret. Second, the exposure of artificially strong stimuli can dull our senses. We are becoming more and more insensitive. Once we are familiar with strong stimuli, it is hard to calibrate our sense to easily react with the weaks. That’s a big problem. Why? Because it’s becoming harder to feel good. Happiness was simple and easy, till the attack of supernormal stimuli”.
So, by realizing that, I’m currently trying to reduce my dependence on supernormal stimuli, the things that give me instant dopamine. I’m not trying to be a Sufi or a Zen master. I just don’t want someone else controlling my ability to be happy. Because we are the one who have right to decide our own feeling and life.
This is a rebellion against the invaders of our mind, a liberation to reclaim our independence.