Here’s my list, in order, of what drives behavior in the modern, privileged world:
- Cognitive load (and the desire for habit and ease)
- Greed (fueled by fear)
The five are in an eternal dance, with capitalist agents regularly using behavioral economics to push us to trade one for the other. We’re never satisfied, of course, which is why our culture isn’t stable. We regularly build systems to create habits that lower the cognitive load, but then, curiosity amplified by greed and fear (plus our search for connection and desire to love) kick in and the whole cycle starts again.
I like Seth’s set up for this but not the corporate entity as the example. Here’s a sanitised version:
…without habits, every decision requires attention. And attention is exhausting.
And it’s stressful because the choices made appear to be expensive. There’s a significant opportunity cost to doing this not that. … what are you going to skip? What if it’s not worth the [time or wait]? What are you missing?
It’s all fraught. We feel the failure of a bad choice in advance, long before we discover whether or not it was actually bad.