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Quick update on marketing illusions that make us selfish

September 2, 2014

It’s that time of year when I still get butterflies about going ‘back to school’. Silly really. But it happens and I do have a way of coping. I stop and think. It’s the triumph of rationality over emotion; thinking that, logically, I’ve been through this many, many times and it’s never been so awful. All I need is a bit of preparation and to trust my skills (such as they are).
Recently, however, I’ve been thinking that this isn’t actually ‘rational’ in the sense we usually mean it. It’s true that there is a sense of calm consideration, but I’m not actually using a rational, objective argument to reassure me of what will happen as we get back into the University year.
Indeed, it is probably impossible to fully rationalise the apprehension I feel precisely because it is about the future and the future is uncertain. We can rationalise up to a point – we can consider probabilities – but, in truth, we never have full knowledge of the facts.
So, it’s occurred to me, what I am actually doing is being ‘mindful’. Allowing my full attention to play over the cause of anxiety rather that just letting my limbic system react.
Mindfulness is really rather popular at the moment and I’m always sceptical of anything popular. However the basic idea (familiar to Buddhists everywhere) is simple and reminds me of the ideas Of Lynn Serafin mentions (see my last post). I was also struck by the similarity of Lynn’s thesis with mnmlist.com from Leo Babauta.
Again, it’s that time of year. I’m going back onto the 5:2 diet and I found Leo’s blog via a search for soup. What intrigues me is that being mindful of what we are consuming can help us consume less. And, I suggest, this doesn’t only apply to food (though it’s helpful that it does!)
In my last post I suggested that reminding ourselves how much we have, even when we feel we have very little, is a good idea. Well, even more so now. If we remind ourselves with each mouthful how remarkable it is that the food even exists, we might be getting some way towards realising that (much as food marketers would like to persuade us otherwise) we don’t need a new taste sensation every day.

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