In the sense that rewarding physical activity is useful for keeping an animal moving to find foods, mix the gene pool, etc. Today, these are not reliant on physical movement because food is so available (in most of the world, certainly the 'west') - and because of that surplus physical activity helps combat the negative physical effects of our excess and gluttony, expelling the crap. The reward for physical exercise has, by chance, moved into a new use.
Of course, exercise cultures and monetised trends exploit this reward protocol too and have their own toxic edge (steroids etc). Which wouldn't be so bad if the aesthetics weren't so gaudy... ;-)
fridge door is fucked so it’s been letting us know for 48 hours straight like a schizophrenic car seat-belt alarm
Complex framework due to variety of incentives aka rewards, interpretation of toxic contexts, extent of any negative outcomes. Humanity is riddled with functions whose purpose is to distribute control status markers within porous interdependent remits, see middle class foodies on Yelp. Hugely archaic historical examples eg concept of life after death, heaven etc even though tech evolution has refined capabilities within contract-ridden capitalist profit reward structures, see gamification, church of dopamine, end of level boss kills etc
Context-dependent, multicultural, delayed/immediate gratification control tools - they inhere in the worth of the principals and define them, to borrow McCarthy - trans-human throughout the lifetime of our species but now industrialised. If you give mice enough dopamine they hallucinate btw. A few toxic rewards by age demographic:
Kids - sugar, phones, which school (state v public/independent), early socialisation and integration of peer alignments in correspondence to escalation of striatal dopamine release hits. Ubiquitous McDonalds Happy Meal free plastic crap for landfill inside a few years was one of the most evil but genius marketing gimmicks ever here. Exposure to life through social media’s weird lens
This Isn’t Normal, Not At All. The appearance in the mid-twentieth century of the first general-purpose computers, a new machine species germinated in the steam-haze of the industrial revolution and hothoused by two world wars, portended an unprecedented plastic control of nature and an extreme...
Adults - careerists and bohemians share a love of drink and drugs, straight-edge has sport too with detached pugilists supposedly sanitisd when most are viscerally and emotionally invested in its actual rewards around violence eg MMA, blood, concussions. Fun and repugnant in equal measure seeing early onset dementia occur live. The bear-pit of international rugby super heroes reduced to vegetables then dead very very young men appears another evolving one which may kill the game
Sex, porn, apps. It’s important especially on a male centric platform to be open about sex and Corpsey’s wanking labyrinths but the real target is zero intimacy and I say that as a former and open ex-dogger. Coercive control as reward for intimacy in an abusive relationship for women with Gus. Elevation of image x mutation, ie fresh, new, renewed. Worship of image for masturbation, or to stoke class envy through advertising, or make you reach for a shampoo because under layers of other images you’re exposed to an advertisement once carried an image of a couple hugging so you subconsciously associate this with shampoo x, which actually makes your eyes itch. Trauma from going down the shops at exactly the wrong moment when there’s a shooting. A % of toxic rewards are embedded into life where there’s no escape
Work - honest people are at higher risk of fraud, say no more, segue to...
Family - a unit to be pimped, every one of them. You want to be warm this winter? Wriggle like a fucking eel as someone once put it