Self-addiction and Self-righteousness<sup>1</sup>

David Brin

in Pathological Altruism

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199738571
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199918669 | DOI:
Self-addiction and Self-righteousness1

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The word “addiction” appears to limit our perception of a much wider realm—general behavioral reinforcement within the human brain. If neurochemical processes reinforce “good” habits such as love, loyalty, and joy in music or skill, then addiction should be studied in a larger context of both harmful and wholesome reinforcement triggers, their commonalities and differences. Self-righteousness and indignation may sometimes become pernicious addictive habits, arising as much from chemical need as from valid concerns about unfair actions. Among other outcomes, this may cause pathologically altruistic behavior. Indignation addiction may underpin the obstinate behavior of those on both the far left and far right of the political spectrum. Moderate-progressives who seek problem-solving pragmatism may get a boost if it were openly demonstrated that the self-righteous mental state is reinforced chemically by hijacking internal addiction mechanisms.

Keywords: addiction; habit; indignation; pathological altruism; self-righteousness

Chapter.  3659 words. 

Subjects: Social Psychology

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