No Self-esteem or Attention: A Shortage in Serotonin in Non-socialist Societies

Here’s an example of a picture of someone who wants to get clients using that logic of brain chemicals. She took that picture representing her on the website knowing the clients she wants to get: She wanted to fit into a specific image, that of the nerdy girl that is famous in movies and pop culture, literature, and school experiences, and she is capitalizing onto it. People, even unconsciously, like me, make up their personalities to fit them into good boxes for other people. In today’s world, I can choose to brand myself as a happy fairy, for others, and they call me that way, they say that’s the bubbly girl, and then slowly I start to wear the “aesthetic” of that. It is a convenient way to help me into people’s minds, it makes it easier for me. It makes me more attractive to make people want to trade brain chemicals with. Love, “at first sight” or even after getting to know the person, is also a trade of brain chemicals, an exchange in body budgets. An issue about this is that a lot of what we can do is not chosen, systematic, and wealth chooses our personalities to others for us.


We have a limited range of personalities to choose from as middle class, we have even more limited body budgets, and perhaps the more inequality, the smaller body budgets available for lower classes to exchange with each other, because they have a barrier to trade chemicals with higher classes, because of specific hobbies, ways of talking, specific terms, specifics topics that each gets interested in.

5-star hotel staff calls you sir, take the last word in the conversation, keep their head down while talking with you, value you more. Stewardesses are nice to you on a flight to hopefully make you feel good, that smile from a stranger, is important to your success and productivity. I don’t know, but they may be nicer to first-class passengers. Serotonin in the brain makes you better with people, makes you better at networking, etc. Even the way we socialize, the reasons we are extroverted instead of introverted, are systematic in a sense.

In this way, we implement the mass media biases in interpersonal conversations: Bias through selection and omission, bias through placement, bias by headline, bias by word choice and tone, bias by photos, captions and camera angles, bias through use of names and titles, bias through statistics and crowd counts, and bias by source control. (source: mediasmarts).

Sometimes in literature and the arts, the artists try to make our personalities as human beings look more out of control, more systematic, check this instance from the movie Pauline At The Beach.

[Pierre]: I hope I’m not disturbing you.

[Pierre]: I came in the morning, since I can’t come evenings.

[Marion]: Why not say you don’t want to come!

[Pierre]: No, I can not. It’s physical. That guy repels me, in the literal sense of the term.

[Marion]: Well, he attracts me.

[Pierre]:I loathe him. Do you know what he reminds me of? A snake.

Marion, in this scene, tries to correct his physical reasons for his “unwant” as the fact that he just doesn’t want to come, but he confirms that it is a physical repulsion that he feels. Often, we live our lives thinking that we have free will, unless, like these instances, the feelings are so strong that we acknowledge the physicality and bodily aspects of it, or artists remind us, even the subtle ones, that they are out of our control.

Based on Feldman Barret’s theory of emotions, the body has budgets that can be more or less. It can be something related to the body like hunger and stomach aches etc, and it can equally be brain chemicals. If someone smiles at you in a public place, that makes you happier and more able to give people a better body budget. People who were deprived of comfort in childhood will lack it in adulthood. It’s almost as if there is an interest rate in brain chemicals.

Personalities, serotonin, etc, are subject to compound interest as they grow and time passes. A person who was loved, who was born in a comfortably rich family, will be better as an adult and more able to be rich and provide love to others and themselves. Someone who was deprived of that at a young age will keep seeking it. Such is the cruel physics of love, and being human.

This is why, in a world where inequality is increasing, there are more middle-class and poor people than others, therefore, when these kids grow up, they will need serotonin, and as long as they hang out with people in their economic class, there will always be a shortage in serotonin, a shortage in body budgets. Unless these poor find their way into the elites’ hobbies like golf, or hang out with them, or be friends with them, like money, they will struggle to get enough serotonin from people whose serotonin is also lacking.



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Nabil Houari

Nabil Houari

Utopianist, in the lines between fiction and reality. I’m a social science researcher & I blog on lifestyle and mental health.