SOS BOOK (Chapter 3.3) Better understanding the FIRST KEY to SUCCESS
Let’s discuss in more detail, the FIRST key to a successful life. This is a more scientific explanation for those who want this. We also need a heartfelt acceptance of this truth. So, considering & contemplating this more deeply might help. The first KEY to success was introduced in Chapter 3.1
REVIEWING THE FIRST KEY:
WE MUST REALIZE THAT LASTING HAPPINESS ONLY COMES FROM WITHIN OUR SELF.
To better understand happiness, we first need some understanding of how we perceive our world. Our brain provides a mechanism to interpret the external world.
We initiate this perception through our 5 physical senses. These produce representations of our environment through patterns generated in the brain. These patterns are chemical & electrical imprints.
These patterns represent the external world. We then interpret these patterns neurobiologically & conceptually. This happens through higher order interpretations of these basic cortical imprints.
What then, in terms of science, is the difference between transient pleasure and lasting happiness? We will learn that these totally different mechanisms.
PLEASURE IS A TRANSIENT CHEMICAL IMPRINT.
It is usually provided by activated neurons in the brain. This is fundamentally different to lasting HAPPINESS or JOY...
LASTING HAPPINESS COMES FROM ACTIVATING SPECIFIC NEURONAL PATHWAYS IN THE BRAIN.
Feelings of joy & loving kindness further indicate that we are indeed using such a beneficial neural pathway. That’s how we can tell we are continuing to use the right system!
Maintaining these favorable neural pathways does however require some conscious effort. But doing this is as simple as continuing to use this same strategy to feel good!
REGULAR USE OF NEURAL PATHWAYS IN THE BRAIN IS WHAT MAINTAINS THEM.
It can take time & perseverance to establish a re-wiring. If this new neural pathway is positive & advantageous long term, a lasting or ‘permanent’ happiness will result.
In contrast, ‘transient pleasure’ is usually due to an intense burst of specific chemicals in the brain. That doesn’t last, because the neurons which are responsible become depleted of necessary resources. The chemical stores need considerable time to be resynthesized.
THE INTENSITY OF SENSATION OF TEMPORARY CHEMICAL PLEASURE IS VERY HIGH!
So, we crave more of it! It can become so addictive that we go to extremes to get this sensation in some way. But why do we continue to choose transient chemically induced pleasure, instead of true long-lasting happiness based on neuronal networks?
Can we not tell the difference? Have we not been properly educated? Or do we not have enough self-love & self-care! Is this just laziness & poor impulse control?
A review of the chemistry involved might help us better understand this. In the brain, pleasure is signaled by certain chemical neurotransmitters. This is primarily dopamine, but the effect can be mimicked, and even surpassed, by other neuro-excitatory chemicals. These chemicals trigger short sharp bursts of very intense pleasure feelings and can even negate pain.
Normally this effect is not sustained because the neuro-chemical stores in the individual neurons responsible soon become depleted. A bigger stimulus is then required to trigger even the same effect. This is called adaption. We then need more & more of this trigger and can become ‘addicted’ to it.
WE CAN’T BECOME ADDICTED TO ‘LASTING HAPPINESS’.
This is because the peak intensity of each experience is much less. Plus, there’s no adaption to it. This is because the structural changes in the neuronal pathways involved are not as prone to chemical depletion as individual neurons are. The pleasant sensation therefore can persist for a much long period of time.
The overall quantity of the pleasant experience is thus far greater. The experience can also be maintained long-term! Therefore, we call this sensation ‘lasting happiness’!
LONG-LASTING HAPPINESS CAN CUMULATIVELY BUILD TO BECOME A PROFOUND JOY OR ‘BLISS’.
Biologically speaking, why do we need instant pleasure signaling at all? To survive successfully, even a primitive organism must avoid negative or noxious stimuli and find nourishment. It must thus seek positive or beneficial environments. So, ideally it must be quickly able detect the difference!
Similarly, to survive & thrive, humans need to rapidly distinguish what’s safe & beneficial from what’s harmful. That’s why we need various rapid or ‘instant’ sensing systems. At an emotional level this is includes distinguishing what feels pleasant and what’s not.
OUR EVOLUTION IS DRIVEN BY QUICKLY IDENTIFYING WHAT IS GOOD FOR US.
At the Holistic level, identifying long term beneficial situations & mental states is essential for human development. We need to distinguish what’s good or bad for us in the long term. That’s why we need the important notion of ‘lasting happiness’.
As individuals, we are each responsible for doing this. But how do we achieve this in daily life? How do we succeed in our life quest? This is the theme of this SOS eBook, available on the Ultimatetest.org website. We continue with a deeper discussion of the second key to success in Chapter 3.4