A sea lion will do anything for a fish

We like to think we have free choice but this is kind of an illusion. We only have freedom to choose when we act from awareness and wisdom. Most of the time we are not very wise or aware, we are reacting to circumstances with the faulty set of reasoning that life has bestowed upon us.

Now, the secret mechanism that underpins our reaction is pleasure or a reward. A sea lion will do anything for a fish and we are constantly acting in ways that will release pleasure into our system - probably in the form of dopamine, but let's not get technical. We are constantly driven by this pleasure seeking - we get rewards for thinking the right thoughts, for behaving in a certain way, for eating biscuits, for going shopping - there is a constant action / reward cycle. There's also the opposite - avoiding unpleasantness - but I'm tired so let's leave that for now.

You might think we are more complex than this, and we are tremendously complex in the way we behave and think, but this simple pleasure / unpleasant dynamic is underneath it all. Our emergent behaviour is different to the mechanics that underpin it.


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