"We Dope Ourselves Hardcore On Those Four Chems"
dopamine dispatch #1: scam and grow rich??
I’m very interested in mapping the cultural meaning of dopamine to its furthest reaches, and judging by how viral my latest dopamine mythos TikTok went (cool but also, terrifying??) I think the zeitgeist is ready for it, too, so let’s try a new experiment.
We’ll call this the dopamine dispatch, a selection of dopamine-related oddities and claims from around the web, with commentary, analysis, and related idea-weaving from me. It will come out…when I feel like it! And it will continue if it works! Half will be free to read, half will be for paid subscribers, because writing emails is my job now.
You can contribute to the Dopamine Dispatch by emailing me anything you encounter on the internet: firstname.lastname@example.org is my professional email. 😈 But just know that I am not in STEM and this is not a debunking series — we’re doing humanities here, thinking about meaning and myths and culture. I can’t check any math for you, I’m sorry, I’m just a writer with a special interest!
For this first installment, we gotta talk about this clip of real estate investor Kris Krohn explaining his morning routine, which I have watched 700 times now and it still makes me laugh:
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Kris Krohn is a hustle bro with millions of followers who makes motivational content about freeing yourself from “society’s broken plan”, according to his website, by learning how to buy up hundreds of single-family homes during a housing crisis and break that plan even further.
Author of such titles as The Strait Path To Real Estate Wealth and Limitless: Reclaim Your Power, Unleash Your Potential, Transform Your Life, Krohn claims to have bought his first house while studying at Brigham Young University, a private Latter Day Saints college where the vast majority of students are affluent white members of the LDS Church.
Krohn tells the typical rags-to-riches story about himself — this piece of content he sponsored in Vegas Magazine describes him as “poor” until he saw his wife was sad about how expensive groceries were, so he broke through his “limiting beliefs” and bootstrapped them to financial freedom. (According to his own Instagram, though, his dad was a “successful enough Business owner that he could purchase 5 acres of land” on which to raise him, so I don’t really buy it!)
Krohn now sells thousand-dollar courses on various sketchy internet hustles, runs inspirational mindset conferences that act as a sales funnel to his real estate investments, and, of course, dips his toes into crypto (which we will get into, shortly).
It took me a while to track down the original video this clip came from, thanks to a maddening lack of citation in the influencer world, but it’s a podcast appearance from two months ago on The Jimmy Rex Show where Krohn is describing his 5-hour morning routine with his wife, which he says begins with “active meditation” on the treadmill:
“It includes a reverie, where we’re basically aligning the pharmacy of the body to over-dopamine the mind by gratitude, serotonin in the brain by thinking about our happy joyful thoughts, we’re going deep into oxytocin receiving a message from our highest selves, our soul, from God and from each other. And then we go in, and we produce GABA, an amino acid that produces all the peace in your body. So we dope ourselves hardcore on those four chems for 20 minutes, and then we shift into Mind Palace.”
First of all, I absolutely love that he has named the phases of his morning routine — I respect his commitment to the bit, if nothing else. But my first question here is: how does he know that he’s “doping hardcore” on these neurotransmitters?
You can’t see inside your own brain during your morning routine, so what Kris is really saying is that he’s attached particular feelings to these chemicals — when he feels happy and joyful, he thinks he’s “dosing” on serotonin, and when he feels peace, it must be evidence of his GABA production.
He’s applied the stories that have been told about what these chemicals mean to his personal health practices. It puts a nice rational frame around spirituality — Krohn receives divine messages not through ineffable means, but through belief in scientism.
I’ve been reading Meghan O'Gieblyn’s book God, Human, Animal, Machine — in it she describes how transhumanism, the philosophy of human enhancement through technology, contradicts itself:
What makes transhumanism so compelling is that it promises to restore through science the transcendent—and essentially religious—hopes that science itself obliterated.
Academics often blame Descartes for “disenchanting” the world when he separated the mind from the body and introduced the idea of an immaterial soul.
“It is somewhat ironic that this philosophy, which was meant to privilege the soul, helped facilitate its disappearance from Western philosophy,” O'Gieblyn writes.
Still, we need mythology to make meaning, so the soul continues to reappear within our sciences. We get this term “disenchantment” from Max Weber, who was critical of what he saw as old religious ideas being re-packaged scientifically — re-enchanted, if you will. O'Gieblyn explains:
In fact, when it came to the modern hunger for meaning, Weber found a retreat to traditional religions less objectionable than the impulse to find telos or purpose in empiricism. “In my eyes, such religious return stands higher than the academic prophecy,” he wrote. In other words, if you wanted some kind of spiritual experience, you should just go to church.
Krohn has created his own personal money church in his home gym where the divine can be isolated down to the neurochemical, but that appears to be a recent development, probably because these terms have since become buzzwords that confer an air of legitimacy on whatever an influencer is talking about. In trying to figure out what this “doping hardcore” actually entails, I came upon another video he made four years ago titled The Million Dollar Morning Routine.
There are no specific neurotransmitter words in this hyped-up youth pastor speech — instead he just says deep breathing produces “endorphins” and outlines a 5-step process that involves re-living good memories for gratitude purposes, “pulverizing” your limiting beliefs, and manifesting something that you want as if you already have it, a la The Secret.
I wrote last year about how the New Thought book that inspired The Secret, Think and Grow Rich, was written by a man named Napoleon Hill that some historians now believe was lying about basically everything.
Hill taught that the secret to becoming rich was to believe you already had the things that you wanted, and he claimed to have learned this from Andrew Carnegie himself. But according to a Carnegie biographer, there’s no evidence that Hill ever met Carnegie, nor did he grow rich until he wrote a popular book about the secrets to growing rich, creating a playbook for the self-help gurus of our day.
It should come as no surprise that Krohn counts the daddy of motivational assholes, Tony Robbins, as one of his mentors, or that, according to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Mr. Krohn seems to be carrying on Napoleon Hill’s legacy of scamming!
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