Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Observations in Commerce 25; The Market of Western Civilisation and First-Order Preferences


The Market of Western Civilisation and First-Order Preferences

It has now become very apparent to me that 99% of every available product/commodity that you can purchase, is marketed towards your 'first-order preferences'.
A first-order preference is based on a snap-decision, or impulsive behaviour.

'Following the philosopher Harry Frankfurt, David George points out that only animals consistently act on the basis of their first-order preferences. If an animal wants to eat; it eats.' - Clive Hamilton

What differs man from animal therefore, is man's ability to rationalise between first and second-order preferences (the latter being preferences that we prefer because we have taken the time to rationally deliberate the outcome of choosing such a preference - the majority of cases studied via research show that choosing and acting upon second-order preferences leads to greater, long-term satisfaction from life).

The marketing and advertising giants are fully aware of our weakness as a species to become susceptible to our first-order desires.

The 'Instant-Gratification' age that we currently live in has spawned from man pursuing a path that aims to satisfy his first-oder preferences; a somewhat viscious circle.
I say viscious circle, because a first-order preference is only able to be satisfied temporarily. When the dissatisfaction kicks in, pursuit of more satisfaction seems to be the only answer. The result - 'A gnawing discontent that seems remediable only by having more, although more never satisfies.'

This relentless pursuit for more, is exactly the motto of Western Civilisation.
It is no wonder we are now the fastest we have ever been as a species.
How long until the burnout?

25B. Choice VS Freedom

It's important to understand that more choice doesn't equal more freedom.
'A cat might be able to choose between 6 different types of cat-food, but that does not make it free, it simply means it has a choice.' - Clive Hamilton

As slaves to the system, we are inundated with a choice of varying first-order preferences, none of which are able to make us free, but all of which illude us to think 'because I have so much choice, I must be free.'

'I am only free if I have the self-control, the will and the intellectual capacity to choose my preferences.'- 3 factors which I feel the majority of humans are deluded into believing they already possess.

25C. They are one step ahead

'The danger for people who are unable to control their immediate urges [or 'animal-instincts' or 'reactions to first-order preferences] is that they become subject to manipulation and exploitation'. - Clive Hamilton

The advertisers and marketers know this, for sure.

'The head of planning at a global advertising agency has said "Most people don't have a sense of self-worth. Buying goods makes us feel special and successful. They make us feel valuable in a world that tests our self-worth,".

And that's what Hazardous Pioneers stands for: figuring out your self-worth! Have some self-respect! Learn to distinguish between first and second-order preferences and which ones will benefit you, both physically and spiritually.

It's no surprise that YOU are the only one that can make such decisions. Thus, YOU are responsible for which routes you decide to take.
Anarcho-Spirituality in a nutshell.

25D. 'The Modern Obesity Epidemic and First Order Preferences'

'Most obese people would prefer to be thinner; they prefer to prefer less food. It is the objective of suppliers of junk food to pursuade us to allow our first-order preferences to prevail.' - Clive Hamilton

Important to note;

1. They can only persuade you. Granted, such persuasion can be so strong that it makes one feel as if they are being forced to a decision, but at the end of the day, it is you and only you that makes the choice to succumb to the first-order preferences.

2. You could argue that we are forced into the monetary system, and not persuaded - but upon closer examination, you do have a choice to not participate in the monetary system at all, however the result is a little tricky - leading most to conclude that we are forced to live in this system.

25E. The 3 Factors of Freedom


By giving in and choosing to act upon first-order preferences, you create impulsive behaviour.
With repetition, this becomes compusive behaviour, which undoubtedly forms habits.
These habits then condition you out of the practice of self-control.
It is no wonder why the average human lacks self-control in so many areas of life.


Reduced practice at self-control can resuce one's will power. An example might be someone who eats to the point of obesity from a lack of self-control. As a result, over-time it's often that when the person eventually decides that they want to lose weight, their will power has been weakened so much, that they rarely stick with their weight-loss regime for more than a few weeks, before reverting to their old ways.

Intellectual Capacity
Through the Western Civilisation 'educational'-institutions, it is in my opinion that intellectual capacity has been somewhat shit upon.
Through institutional set-ups, a small group of intellectuals can decide exactly which common syllabus or curriculum should be taught.
It then becomes quite easy to stifle the intellectual capacity of millions of people, by filtering them through institutional 'education', especially if the few at the top decide that the truth be stripped from the selected teachings.

Looking at our present state as a species, it is evident that the above 3 factors are pretty much absent from most psyches.

25F. Temptation and Free-Will

Look up any ancient religious text and search for a parable to depict temptation, and you'll find it.

Whether it be Jesus in the desert or Buddha and the 3 Daughters - there are countless examples of prophet-figures and religious icons being tempted by the 'ways of the world' or 'animal instincts of man' or 'first-order preferences'.

But one thing that all these stories seem to have in common, is that resisting these temptations, and instead going with the second-order preference, would appear to provide a truer sense of satisfaction and meaning to one's life.
It appears that due to man following his first-order preferences more so than his second, he managed to get himself into the mess that he is in today.

'The Fall of Man' I suspect is an explanation of man acting upon his first-order preferences, enough to cause an imbalance between those and his seconds.

Is it worth taking a hint from these ancient spiritual texts and striving to take the 'straight and narrow', second-order path of preferences?

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