Sunday, September 25, 2005


"Dopamine has been associated with the novelty of drinking, gambling and other addictions, but it is also connected with curiosity, adventure, entrepreneurship and accomplishments. An experiment performed by Dr. Gregory Burns, author of a book on dopamine, Satisfaction, shows a positive side of dopamine.

"Dopamine helps to produce results in an uncertain world.

"Dr. Whybrow connects the excessive dopamine characteristics of America to migration. Approximately 2 percent of any population has enough dopamine to create the curious risk-taking necessary to leave the group. America basically is built through immigration. As a nation we have perhaps 50 percent with high dopamine characteristics. This drive has made America great.

"When explaining the difference between the American and European mind set, Dr. Whybrow cites and observation from Alexis de Tocqueville's famous 1835 treatise, Democracy in America. Tocqueville uses a merchant seaman as a metaphor. The European seaman is prudent when adventuring out to sea. When an unexpected event happens, he returns to port. The American, neglecting such precaution, braves these dangers. He sets sail while the storm is still rumbling. He spreads full sail to the wind. He repairs storm damage as he goes. The American is often shipwrecked, but no other sailor crosses the sea as fast as he does.

"The same mind-set difference between Europe and the United States is visible today. The Washington Post this June states, 'In France, not a single enterprise founded in the past 40 years has managed to break into the ranks of the 25 biggest French companies. By comparison, 19 of today's largest U.S. companies didn't exist 4 decades ago. That's why France is looking to the United States for lessons.'"

Referring article

Stimulating Source


Anonymous said...

That whole book is a goldmine of still-relevant observations:


"In the United States a man builds a house in which to spend his old age, and he sells it before the roof is on; he plants a garden and lets it just as the trees are coming into bearing; he brings a field into tillage and leaves other men to gather the crops; he embraces a profession and gives it up; he settles in a place, which he soon afterwards leaves to carry his changeable longings elsewhere. If his private affairs leave him any leisure, he instantly plunges into the vortex of politics; and if at the end of a year of unremitting labor he finds he has a few days' vacation, his eager curiosity whirls him over the vast extent of the United States, and he will travel fifteen hundred miles in a few days to shake off his happiness. Death at length overtakes him, but it is before he is weary of his bootless chase of that complete felicity which forever escapes him."

Anonymous said...

how rude of me to comment anonymously.


Russell said...

I prefer Bill Murray's line from an Army comedy about America being a nation of immigrants: "...and that means our ancestors were kicked out of every God-fearing, decent country in the world!"

Russell said...