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Updated on December 1, 2009

Essence of life - what moves us on? Desire!


I do not go to the Casino, neither gamble...but while living my own life and watching the common behaviour of myself and the others, it often seems to me as act of gambling.


Casino is not only place where people gamble, we are all gamblers with life: it is very typical for human race that we enter completely unprepared into various life situations, driven by our desires and wishes and cope with the positive and negative consequences of our decisions afterwards. about which we knew nothing at the time when we were choosing them.


Whole human life is sort of game : the point of life is - surprise. And we can control it up to the certain level, but never completely...surprises always arrive.


Our love-relationships are pure gambling up till the moment we become mature enough to try to choose more wisely...but when we choose wisely, it might not be so interesting any more. The most passionate love-relationships are that ones which can never be realized completely. We choose them whenever we need excitement, something interesting and powerful to move us on, to make us "feel alive". When we desperately want something (or somebody) it is far more interesting then getting it. Desire is force of creation. Living for long time without any passionate desire is like dying.


Parenting is also like gambling: you never know anything about your future child, it is 9 months of waiting for surprise and many years of unpredictable situations and myriads of challenges afterwords.


Our jobs, professions... are pure gambling as well. We get education in the age when majority of us have no clear idea what would really inspire us to work for next... hm...35-40 years of life. From the point of view of one human being, 40 years of life is eternity. More then half of life. Nothing strange that people are globally not satisfied with their professional decisions made in emotional childhood and they do not perform their professional roles as they should. In addition to that, humans are multi-talented, working just one type of job means expressing only one talent, what is killing people and their creativity.
Recession came in right time so many people got rid of wrong chosen professional chains and too difficult jobs, but now they need to struggle with survival. We need to "gamble" again and find the way how to survive and progress. To me, it sometimes seems not much better then in Casino.


Dopamine hormones and how they trick us in life


Gambling problem (compulsive gambling) is an urge to gamble despite harmful negative consequences or a desire to stop. People who are hurt by their lives and choose one negative experience after another, are just driven by the same urges as compulsive gamblers are. Actually all people are driven by the same hormonal urges, just some of us see ourselves as successful life-gamblers, some of us as losers.

Why is that?

In our brains we have dopamine hormone (necessary for life) released by hypothalamus, that is responsible for many vital functions in human life. Thanks to dopamine, we have motivation for living, cognition, it gives us feeling of reward, in allows us attention, ability for learning, it influences our mood, it influences also our ability to move... Dopamine hormone is affecting all our life activities and decisions.

Dopamine allow us to enjoy in food, sex, adventures in life ...

Alcohol, nicotine, drugs, medications, gambling, playing any type of games, watching TV...increase level of dopamine (excitement) in brain.

When we start to loose dopamine, our bodies start to deteriorate: dementia, Alzheimer disease, Parkinson disease are all products of loosing dopamine, our bodies cannot live without it.

How dopamine is tricking us?

Dopamine receptors especially get exited when an unexpected reward is presented, so there must be surprises in human life to keep us alive.

Dopamine receptors are also intelligent: they also like to PREDICT WHEN reward will occur. Process of prediction is excitement itself, and activates our mental abilities, so we might get obsessed with something just to involve ourselves in process of prediction of positive outcome, while waiting for reward.

If there is no reward arriving, dopamine receptors always loose interest, when they get "disappointed", so in order to continue any type of human activity, we need to believe that positive outcome will arrive...and in the meantime get periodically small rewards for our activity. Dopamine receptors also get temporary satisfied with any type of small, unexpected reward which allow them to continue with their obsession with certain activity in spite the fact that reward was so small that activity would be really worth it.

Our obsession with some activity stops when there is none reward arriving any more, but dopamine receptors also find pleasure in "remembering" the past rewards, so obsession can continue for prolonged time.... this is especially obvious in relationships that after breaking continue to live just in the heads of people who find pleasure in remembering the past excitements, despite the fact that all is over and will never happen again in this lifetime.

So many people are blinded by dopamine games in the brain, by pleasures of occasionally winning small rewards, so they cannot see that they are loosing more then gaining, but is fact that only pleasure and learning motivate us to continue living, so all is very relative.

Dopamine receptors like challenges, challenges are most important for process of learning. When everything is same, we cannot learn. But too many challenges are burning our neural system, we are able to literally burn out too quickly in the life in case we have too much challenges and no reward arriving. When there is too many challenges, there is no place for enjoyment in reward. Lack of reward is killing our brain receptors. So that is the reason we need to slow down and gamble with our life more wisely.

We cannot avoid gambling games of our dopamine receptors, but knowledge and understanding them can bring us much more pleasurable life... and can teach us how to cooperate with them (instead they trick us) and gain much deeper level of satisfaction with some real progress in life on that we can truly be proud of.




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