Gratification’s dysfunction

Imagine a metaphorical circle around your person that is indicative of the extent of your present capabilities. Your influence, reach, talents, resources, the lot. It’s summerised as X and symbolically represented as the green circle below. When you edify your hunger, X increases, when you gratify your hunger, X decreases.

X vs Y

Picture another, larger circle, next to X. This is Y. This represents the resources we have access to. The size of X determines the size of Y. Y>X (reality check is that Y is 100x+ bigger as we always have greater access to resources than capability to utilise them, but the illustration is more easily viewed when not to scale). The larger you can get X, Y follows suit, naturally. Decreasing X does the same in decreasing Y.

Of the resources we access, we don’t actually require 100% of them to maintain X. We (especially 1st world citizens) nearly always have access to far more resources than required.

When we experience ‘hunger’ (physically or any other metaphorical hunger) it’s usually due to some requirement/deficiency in X. We regularly find ourselves running low on energy/hope/motivation/love etc. To maintain the status quo, we access Y to fill the whole in X and carry on…

The difference between Edifying that hunger or Gratifying it however, is what part of Y we consume and in what way. Depending on the answer to those questions, we might have done X a service or perhaps a disservice, once we give consideration to long-term consequences. The larger our accessible resources, the more likely we are to waste those resources, not use them effectively and gratify ourselves.

When we aim to edify, we filter Y before consuming it, to ensure doing so improves/magnifies X; and when we gratify (or don’t care to edify), we’re essentially filterless in our consumption and therefore too frequently consume Y in self-detrimental ways, therefore diminishing X. Then when we grow hungry again we find ourselves not only wanting in the regular way, but we’ve also created a new deficiency due to the previous gratifying event. Even though both scenarios started with the same quantity/value in both X and Y, the gratifying example has created a new/additional deficiency (in X), and an increased need for Y. If one continues gratifying their hunger repetitively, they can exponentially grow hungrier each and every time they do.

Addiction is of course one of the easiest examples to demonstrate this principles. As one pursues the ‘hit’ to fill the need, their hunger temporarily feels ‘satisfied’ yet in reality their gratification is enlarged, making the next time the ‘need’ comes around even more desperate than the last. Ironically, you end up eating more and more of your own X, due to failing to filter Y. Eventually we can end up eating nothing but our own capacity to function, becoming purely dependent upon external aid and simultaneously incapable of utilising it effectively, not having the internal resources required to personally make use of any external ones. Because it actually costs some degree of X to even access Y, those who sacrifice X to access more Y are ironically working against themselves in the long run. You can spend Y without decreasing X, but you can’t spend X without decreasing Y. It’s kind of like re-feeding syndrome, where in the process of becoming desperately in need of food you become incapable of eating it.


Gratification’s careless consumption leads to being overcome with useless ‘matter’ that doesn’t contribute to the growth of the individual. For this reason, personal capabilities are decreased. Just like a mass hoarder who collects everything can struggle to move or acquire the things of the most worth as they haven’t the space or freedom due to being over cluttered.

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