Why We Hate Cheap Things

We don’t think we hate cheap things – but we frequently behave as if we do.

The first meeting between Europeans and pineapples took place in November 1493, in a Carib village on the island of Guadaloupe. Pineapples proved extremely difficult to transport to Europe and very costly to cultivate. For a long time only royalty could actually afford to eat them. Then at the very end of the 19th century, production and transport costs plummeted and, unwittingly, transformed the psychology of pineapple-eating. It still tastes exactly the same. But now, the pineapple is one of the world’s least glamorous fruits.

The pineapple itself has not changed; only our attitude to it has. When we have to pay a lot for something nice, we appreciate it to the full. Yet as its price in the market falls, passion has a habit of fading away.

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Reasons to Remember Death

It might be useful to dwell on the prospect of death more than we are inclined to.

We’re scared to fail, scared to be alone with our own feelings, scared to eject certain people from our lives, scared to tell our partners who we really are, scared to take our dreams seriously.

From fear, we delay the lives we know we should be leading. A dark but useful solution to this delay – aligning our thoughts to something radically larger and scarier then our doubts and hesitations…the thought of death.

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How to Help Those We Love

The impulse to help floats logically free of any actual ability to do so. Two people can long to be supportive and generous to one another and yet lack all the skills to deliver on their good intentions.

We cause ourselves trouble because we are too slow to recognize an odd, largely unmentioned phenomenon: how varied and particular our notions of help can be.

We take our own preferred style of being soothed as the natural starting point for how to soothe others – but when we are wrong, and our partner’s original distress is compounded by their sense of having been ignored or insulted, we take them to be ungrateful and cruel and vow never to attempt to be kind again.

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Why It Is So Hard to Live in the Present

posted in: Previous Topics, Self | 0

What is it that makes the present, especially the nicer moments of the present, so difficult to experience properly? And why, conversely, can so many events feel easier to enjoy, appreciate and perceive, when they are firmly over?

One benefit of the past is that it is a dramatically foreshortened edited version of the present.

Even the best days of our lives contain a range of dull and uncomfortable moments. But in memory, we lock on to the most consequential moments; and therefore construct sequences that feel a great deal more meaningful and interesting than the settings that generated them.

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