Silicon Valley, California’s mecca for tech entrepreneurship, receives a majority of venture capital investment in the United States. When betting on emerging startups, one of the most important factors to consider is the persistence of the investor. Basically, because the volatile behavior of the markets and the fragility of innovative ideas with possible negative consequences for investments generate unacceptable stress. The odd thing is that betting on the fulfillment of a ruthless cause that, along with the promise of dividends, heralds failure is part of the achievement of our species. Attempting to cross the savannah, tame the indomitable fire, save unknown landscapes, cross seas or venture to uncharted horizons were events filled with equal parts fear and ambition, essential to being what we are today are. And who tells us that this neural neurotransmitter called anandamide, which contributes to motivation and decision-making as well as the ability to act and react in the search for solutions, didn’t play a role in these episodes?
Today we live thanks to the efforts of our boldest ancestors. After some of the craziest decisions filtered through the cracks of common sense, humanity’s most pivotal acts have taken place. Episodes that have changed the world, at least the world of people, although they come from initially impossible initiatives. So much so that I’m sure that the fact that the brain protects us from traumatic memories, buries or nuances them, and that societies forget the repertoire of sacrifices that success with future returns requires is behind this obsession to take steps undertake and move forward. Precisely from Stanford University’s Palo Alto came the conclusions of a study that found attraction to risky behaviors to be linked to a small group of neurons in the brain’s nucleus accumbens. It appears that risk-taking in certain people elicits greater production of dopamine and, as a result, triggers a level of gratification associated with that of some drugs.
At the moment, the guideline is the safety of what is being taken, that is, making sure it doesn’t feel bad; however, until recently, the opposite was the norm. Therefore, the question remains whether this correlation of risk and pleasure is some sort of collateral damage that results from this commitment to overcoming the insecurity associated with eating something that can make you feel bad or even kill you. After all, putting something in your mouth, like playing Russian roulette, has evolved for a long time. Perhaps this maneuver to increase the pleasure aspect to minimize the dangers of eating is behind the strengthening of the pleasure-risk balance in other facets of life.
A paradigmatic case is sharp. It is not perceived through the taste buds like taste, but through pain receptors, chemical nociceptors that respond to noxious stimuli. The contradiction is that a strong burning, burning, even pain is accompanied by a pleasant feeling. The answer to this situation lies in a different response given by the central nervous system, which seeks to block this affliction by releasing painkillers such as anandamides, better known as the chemicals of happiness, that induce a euphoria similar to that of opiates . Anandamide’s scope for motivation and reward is such that it has led some individuals to seek out the capsaicin-induced ailments of these pungent nightshades. And these mechanisms that the brain uses to neutralize pain, coupled with the favorable experience that articulates controlled risk, provoke practices beyond gastronomy. What remains is the fascination for extreme attractions or for walking on the abyss.
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