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December 7, 2011


Are we digital junkies?


After a long, long, long time an old friend of mine and I reconnected and rekindled an old friendship which has led us to share lots of fun war stories; via the internet. Tito Graffe is a world traveled Venezuelan-born Canadian avant-garde photographer, film-maker and writer residing in New York and Montreal. Although we come from two very different professional backgrounds; him an experimental artist and “moi” a former Fortune 1000 corporate technologist, we have common interests and this blog post is but the first, in what I hope will lead to some future collaborative creative work.

You see, I have had this idea for a while. Actually, it is more of a curiosity. I was wondering if our well documented insatiable appetite for all things digital is some kind of an addiction. And Tito asked me if I wanted to publish, perhaps review one of his short experimental YouTube videos.

At first I was like… Oh no, please no. I mean it’s kind of difficult to tell a friend that his stuff is… well let’s say not up to par. After all, I am posting for you, a very smart, finicky and discriminating individual and as such I endeavor to keep things in the up and up; nice standards. Not rocket science, mind you, but cool… if you get my drift.

Call it serendipity, but after a few moments I breathed a sigh of relief because I realized that this video comes in handy with the idea of the digital addiction, of which I confess to be a junkie… LOL!

It’s funny how humans, i.e. us, like to think that we are something quite special; something akin to being the “center of the universe.” No shortage of Ego here. I mean even the word humane is supposed to convey some kind of god like attribute. But in any case, what I find interesting is that very few people think in terms of how the inner workings of their own bodies influence and affect their perception of just about everything in their lives. In a way we are quite bound by the chemistry in our bodies and yet we seldom pay any attention to it.

Many ordinary things can trigger dopamine secretions; food, alcohol, drugs, sex, music, movies, etc. Pick your own poison!

Dopamine is a powerful neurotransmitter which accounts for a lot of what we think and do. It is secreted at the base of the brain and hurdled towards the frontal lobes of the brain and this stimulates our thinking, interest, moods and motivations, etc. Dopamine stimulation is quite addictive. There are lots of people with dopamine problems and deficiencies in general and perhaps hard drugs usage is an immediate mechanisms to activate it. This is just a conjecture of mine since I am by far not a qualified physician, biochemist or anything of the sort.

I once mentioned to some business buddies that in order to pick a successful business or industry to get into, to always choose that which affects dopamine secretions! Speaking of which, right now, as I write this article, I feel quite good because I just had a Godiva Gems chocolate (thank you Isabela sweetie) and I’m swinging to Anita O’Day singing the jazz standards… Yep, lot’s of dopamine secretion here. This helps me to keep focused and hopefully, creative too.

So while visiting different electronics stores I have often wondered why even in these recessionary hard times, these stores have no shortage of customers. For example, let’s take Best Buy, an electronic retail chain in the US. They not only sell all things electronics but also white line and kitchen appliances: washers, dryers, microwave ovens, et al.

Empirically, I have noticed that the appliances’ department of these huge stores is not where the action is. Instead, you will see people hanging around the TVs, stereos, CD’s, DVDs, cell phones and of course all things computers. Is there a common thread among these products? Well, one day it hit me. All these products are digital stimulants, a.k.a. dopamine stimulants?

I read somewhere that surfing the internet is the ultimate form of frontal lobe stimulation; the simple act of making decisions as to where to click and see is a major source of stimulation. Perhaps males are more susceptible and therefore the stereotypical idea of a man with his TV’s remote control, channel surfing for hours on end. If my hunch is correct then there will not be any decrease in our voracious appetite for all things digital and business will continue to flourish.

Finally, Tito’s video reminded me of someone looking at a screen, hooked and getting his or her digital fix. What do you think?

Short experimental video by Tito Graffe


2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Dec 19 2011

    Wow, marvelous blog layout! How long have you ever been running a blog for? you make running a blog look easy. The whole look of your website is great, well the content material!
    My website is toys for toddlers.

  2. Dec 19 2011

    Thank you Cynthia. It’s only in the past few months that I have dedicated some time to my personal blog. Thanks!


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