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How ideas click

Today we’ve talked with my wife Varya about possible triggers for a change in the society. From what I understand, an awakening to a more sustainable and less hedonistic lifestyle can happen only after a dramatic and shocking experience. General population won’t give away its comforts (perceived as a right and an element of freedom) by simply hearing a good idea. So it seems like either a revolution, a war, a crisis or at the very least a huge scandal is required to make the society wake up from the status quo.

And I don’t think people are inherently bad. Perhaps the vast majority of the population is so preoccupied with the vanity of human existence that it simply doesn’t have enough room to reassess its behavior.

Another way to make people change their minds is marketing. The goal for a pioneer is to make others truly want a result, an object, an effect. And while others will pursuit their desires, perhaps pioneer’s goal could be met.

Nike’s and Apple’s slogans come to my mind when thinking about it. You probably can recall them. It’s a well known fact these slogans have nothing to do with the products of these companies. They simply make us want to be in the group associated with the slogan.

When thinking about the devastation brought by over-consumption, which is the foundation of our everyday lives and the economy, it is perhaps not possible to stop it by putting on external restrictions. A pioneer, who’s on a path to change the foundation to a more sustainable way of living, has to either wait for the next economic downturn, or find a marketing trick which would make consumers want to change their behaviours gladly and voluntarily. That’s why I think the whole FIRE idea acrtually fired: it pointed people not to reversing the negative ecological impact, but to having more time, options and freedom. The improvement of the ecology is the main goal (as I perceive it) behind the movement, however it’s cleverly presented as a side-effect of one becoming a more fulfilled individual.

I’ve changed my attitude towards every sort of packaging. It’s not that I truly care about that poor sperm whale choking on plastics in the ocean. It’s that I once heard an idea that having packaging is often unnecessary, and thus not optimal. If I can consume a certain product without a wrapping of any sort, what’s the use of packaging for it? It became somewhat a sport for me to find my favorite products without packaging. I also derive satisfaction from watching our garbage bin getting full way slower. A month without throwing away trash appears to me like a very aspiring thing to do.

Same ideas click differently for different people.