Dhamma Thoughts: On x- and y-instant gratification

As per a comment about X’s inability to compete with Y due to Y’s instant gratification, where X serves as an interchangeable indicator as indicated by meditative equanimity/insight and Y is indicated by drug effects. In this event, X, if compounded leads to stronger gratification though one will encounter more difficulty in delaying gratification for later more amplified gratification. However, the delay of this gratification is evidenced to be voluntary rather than driven by external forces via compliance.

If one can increase self-efficacy with regard to the practice of equanimity concomitant with insight, then one can build resiliency in absence of more immediate positive reinforcements. This is why a social network (i.e., spiritual friends) may be supportive to get over an initial “buffer building” of equanimity/insight.

The next hurdle would be to perceive causal links between compounding of cause and effect, such that reinforcement can sustain continued practices. Diminished ability to see cause-effect, would leave one to rely on social reinforcement, and retreat into ritualized behaviors reliant on social reinforcement’s pleasure(s). This would mistake community effects for equanimity/insight effects, thus darkening dhamma with self- and we-referencing commentary.

Something of interest is increasing evidence that the pharmacological reality of ~20% of some drug effects being due to physiological interactions of a drug, where the remaining 80% is due to social conditioning, modeling etc. (e.g., marijuana, alcohol etc.). There are cultures uncontaminated by dominant cultures where alcohol is not associated with the effects witnessed in other cultures like most developed countries evidence. Marijuana is demonstrated to have the same result in some indigenous cultures. Therefore, it has been reasoned that drug effects may have a large placebo effect.

So, to assert that drugs are better than dhamma is effectively saying that psychosocial effects (i.e., social psychological effects, sociological effects, etc.) are more powerful than an awareness of the four noble truths. Unfortunately this is an incorrect assessment, because the four noble truths are realized at the outset of the eightfold path, rather than as a culmination of the path. Again, right view is the forerunner.

Basically the meeting up with dhamma is by “luck” where luck originally was used in translations etymologically at the time with respect to the fruits of “good deeds” (i.e., wholesome deeds [i.e., pro-social behavior based on diminishment of one’s metabolic expenditures for continued happiness arrival [i.e., joy]]). It is beneficial to know that the attribution of chance/randomness to “luck” came after the use of “luck” in translations of buddhadhamma.