There is a pond close to my house that is stocked with goldfish. I visit often, but only occasionally do I feed the fish. After awhile, the fish seem to recognize my footfall and gather close to the feeding area. This intermittent reward has found to be the strongest kind of conditioning for both animals and humans.
That is what lotteries and slot machines are all about. Occasional rewards trigger the reward and pleasure centers of our brains.
The same sort of conditioning can be used to influence other aspects of our lives. When Obama came in, it was a great relief that he started de-emphasizing the war in Iraq and promised to draw down troops. There is the reward. Then he ups the ante in the war in Afghanistan, allows the Honduran coup to establish itself- there are the disappointments. He is active in taking steps to recognize and slow climate change, but mountaintop removal mining continues. The reward for marijuana users were his statements regarding the DEA raids of dispensaries in states where medical marijuana is legal. But the reality is, the DEA is still coordinating raids all over California.
I am looking in from the outside as someone who was never quite been enraptured by his oratory because I was aware of his voting record in the Senate. I can see how Obama is using this conditioning technique to keep together his fragile coalition of liberals and progressives, while at the same time appeasing hard-line warmongers and modern day robber barons.
The problem with this technique is that at some point in time, the tire meets the road, and if your life is slipping away by low wages, no job, threat of losing your house, if you have to tell your kid that even though they expected to go away to college like you did, it is just not affordable, then somehow that reality comes to the forefront. The only thing you have going for you, Mr. Obama, is that there is no progressive opposition; the other side (if you can call them that, since you are the other side, so I mean to say the Republicans) are a bunch of loonies with no ideas or concept of how to get the U.S. out of this morass.
Has this turned into a world populated by Aleister Crowley characters? Where “Do what thou wilt” is the rulers prerogative? Watch out! The intermittent reward-juggling act doesn’t work forever when reality sinks in.
How about these realities; a majority of American voters are opposed to the war in Afghanistan and think that it should be ended. After 8 years, Congress is starting to question the war in Afghanistan. State after state are allowing medical marijuana with a doctor’s recommendation. More than half of Californians are in support of full legalization. And …mirror mirror on the wall, who is the most popular of them all? In Michigan, marijuana was 10% more popular than you were, but there is a big difference- it has retained its popularity. Yours has been on a slide.
Barack we have a solution for you. We know what the problem is? We empathize with you, we sympathize with you, enough for us to have sent you thousands of joints, both virtual and real. We want you to find relief so that your brain is properly oiled and functioning in positive gear! Get out of the clutches of your combination of loser advisors and robber baron financiers! Come back to reality! The world is in your hands and a joint should be in your fingers! Get real with the people! You sound so real! Make it real, and in your case, as you have written in your own books, pot makes it real!