Hardwired for Bliss with Candace Pert. Ph.D.

Is it possible that we are all biologically programmed for happiness? I believe so. In fact, my research over the last 30 years has led me to this conclusion: we’re actually “hardwired” for bliss—both physical and divine. By hardwired I mean that we have major endorphin pathways that lead from the back of the brain to the frontal cortex, where we have the most opiate receptors—the cellular bonding sites for endorphins.

Endorphins are naturally occurring opiates that dull pain and produce euphoria when they bind with opiate receptors. Thus they literally alter our mood on the cellular level.

It sounds amazing, but my work has shown me that we are physically hardwired to pay attention to, and plan for, pleasure. That’s just how we’re designed. The pathways of many neurosubstances throughout the body have been mapped by other researchers, but none of those maps explicitly convey that the human brain has evolved to appreciate, pay attention to, and be guided by pleasure.

It’s unnatural for people to live without pleasure. I believe that at other times and places in history people probably experienced much more pleasure than we do in our modern era. The root of the problem today may be that we’re always looking for the bliss that’s going to come “When I ...” “When I graduate,” “When I finish this,” “When I do that.”

Another obstacle to experiencing pleasure today may be the thought that we are separate from each other and from the rest of creation. We really all are one. When you start to get this, maybe even only on a subconscious level, I think you will start to experience more bliss.

Candace Pert

Candace Pert Return to top of page

Candace Pert, PhD (1946 – 2013), was a research professor in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics at Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, DC, best known for her discovery of op...


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