OK, this will be the last weird heading for quite some time, I promise.
Let’s briefly recap from a previous post: our brains are hardwired to magnify both the potential pleasure and potential pain from any future event – something I like to call mythical utopias or artificial hells. The resulting instinctive drive towards instant pleasure and away from instant pain has a very powerful influence on our day-to-day actions and is responsible for a large portion of the vast array of long-term problems we face today.
However, if we can manipulate these very strong natural drives to result in day-to-day behavior which will be beneficial in the long-run both to ourselves and to our planet, the future suddenly looks a lot rosier. The previous four posts (1, 2, 3, 4) discussed how this could be done for mythical utopias and this post will strive to attain the same outcome for artificial hells.
So, what do you think our most common fears are? Well, this mostly depends on which poll you read, but two fears that often come out on top are the fear of spiders and the fear of public speaking. The really scary long-term trends in our society today – things like resource depletion, climate change, the degenerative disease epidemic and rapidly growing global economic imbalances – are not even on the radar for most people.
For reference, spiders kill less than 10 people per year and public speaking is even more harmless. By comparison, climate change is already killing 100000-500000 people yearly (again depending on who you believe), while cigarettes kill about 5 million. One in ten tobacco-related deaths result from second-hand smoke, implying that, if you’re a non-smoker, your chances of being killed by a spider are 50000 times less than being killed by smoker.
So, why mention these numbers? Well, in short, it is simply meant to demonstrate that our drive away from instant pain is completely screwed up. Yes, it worked very well for the vast majority of human history in order to motivate us to avoid dangerous animals or rejection from the tribe, but in our modern fossil fuel-powered world of material affluence, it has become completely outdated.
OK, so how do we then upgrade our instinctive drive away from instant pain? Well, that is quite simple really. One simply needs to educate oneself about the real threats to our society to the point where any personal actions that will worsen these trends evoke about the same feelings as a big tarantula crawling up your leg.
This really is much easier than you might expect, primarily because a large amount of high-quality information about the real threats to our society is available today. Three good videos are attached below this post. Please take the time to view them. Correctly shaping your brain’s perception of instant pain can contribute greatly to automatically shaping your actions towards sustainability – something which not only brings great gains to the planet, but also to yourself.
An excellent documentary about the limits of our finite planet:
A quick documentary on climate change:
An excellent presentation series about the lack of sustainability in our social systems starts here:
Filed under: Mental control – Intermediate control