God's word in today's world

Dopamine and so on


Some time ago I woke up with the question: Why should every school pay school fees for the implementation of IT for learning? By the way, I’m on the governing body of a high school in our town and IT is my portfolio. At that stage we were hard at work to see what the best way was to utilise technology in learning.

To cut a long story short, a friend and I decided to arrange a conference where people who are knowledgeable about this could come and talk to teachers about IT in education. The very successful congress was held at the Lord Charles Hotel. The Western Cape Minister of Education, some bigshots from WCED and clever people from Stellenbosch University all gave input on the topic.

In the process I realised that someone would have to say something about the effect that IT could have on the learner and because we couldn’t find someone to say something about this, it fell to me to do it. While I was preparing I discovered the work of Brad Huddleston, author of the book Digital Cocaine. One of the things he says is that 2 hours of intense gaming are equal to sniffing one line of cocaine.

He explains that the feeling of enjoyment that you get from gaming or any other pleasant activity comes from dopamine, which is secreted by a hormone in the human brain. Watching pornography, drug abuse and nearly all other dependencies secrete dopamine in your brain, which then gives you that “pleasant feeling”.

The problem is that the brain protects you against too much dopamine and then puts up an obstruction. To get that same pleasant feeling the next time, one must watch more pornography, use more drugs, or do more of whatever activates the dopamine.  (For more information visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xFXP4BtfKU4&t=278s)

This may be a rather theoretical or biological explanation of dependency, but it is exactly this that causes people to look for enjoyment in the wrong places. Our brain protects us, but because we do not want to listen, we do more, and in the process, we become dependent.

That is exactly what Paul predicts: 5doing whatever you feel like whenever you feel like it, and grabbing whatever attracts your fancy.

Sometimes we can be so stupid. It reminds me of that song by Johnny Lee where he sings: I was looking for love at all the wrong places, looking for love in too many places … We look for love or joy or recognition, whatever, in all the wrong places and then we do not understand when everything eventually falls apart.

If we fill our lives with the wrong things, whether it is s*x or pornography or money or power, it leaves no space for God. Without us realising it, these things take over our lives and God is pushed aside. And the strangest of all is that in the end these people call out to God and cannot understand why God is not there.

Be warned: Stay away from things where God is absent. That road leads to self-destruction. And no, it’s not always the most terrible things. Just look at all the ordinary things that push God to the periphery of your life. Get rid of them. Make time and space for God. Then it will go well with you for all the days of your life.

Scripture

Colossians 3:5-6

Reflection

What takes up God’s space in your life?

How must you get rid of it?

Is there someone you need to help?

Prayer

Father, the enemy uses subtle ways to alienate us from You. Please make us aware of the dangers of anything that will take away our time and attention from You. Amen.

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