Friday, 22 May 2009

Following The Shiny Thing

Also known as stimulus hopping. This occurs when certain members of the population (stimulus junkies) are transfixed on chasing after stimulus. Coincidently, these people also form the basis of any strong economy since they are most prone to the constant buying of shit they don't need. The current recession is actually a downturn in the activities of stimulus junkies.

One hallmark of a stimulus junkie is the constant fiddling of a cell phone. They take it out even when they are not using it and just start playing with it. Its no surprise that there's a large market for empty cell phone cases which look like real cell phones.

Stimulus junkies treat the cell phone the same way a sick person would carry around an oxygen tank. For them it's a matter of life and death.

Little gadgets with bright blinking lights and cute ringtones are the shiny things that dumb people can't do without. It prevents the unimaginable fear from ever coming true - the fear of having nothing to do. Imagine being stuck somewhere with only your thoughts to keep you company. The horror!

The nice thing about little gadgets is that they are portable, so anytime you feel the reality of your surroundings start to set in, you just take out your shiny thing.

However, following the shiny thing isn't just about small gadgets. It permeates into other areas of life such as human relations.

Entire bodies of knowledge have been developed to exploit the follow-the-shiny-thing tendency in the opposite sex. Take for example, the popular book known as "The Mystery Method: How to Get Beautiful Women Into Bed". The book teaches basic strategies such as Bait-Hook-Reel-Release and Cat String Theory to capture and keep a woman's attention. It is said that the more attractive a woman is the more these techniques will work on her. And it's true, but it can be restated somewhat: The more time and effort a woman spends on looking good, the more invested she is in getting male attention, and is therefore the most insecure and vulnerable when exposed to the sting of possible rejection (also known as the stimulus of rejection). The premise is that you give these women a taste of something and make her work for more. As an analogy, it's basically like taking away her cell phone and then giving it back periodically, in exchange for a kiss, blow job, sex etc.

Another example is a book created for women known as "The Rules". It teaches women the same basic strategy of playing hard-to-get using similar techniques of manipulation and withdrawal. It's also a very effective means to garner male attention from those men who are the most neurotic and get off on the chase. In this case the shiny thing is the woman's lack of attention which the man desperately tries to win over. And of course, the attention is strategically doled out in prescribed amounts to get the man to go crazy for you. The techniques are not as well codified as those in "The Mystery Method", but nevertheless can be very effective in attracting the most neurotic Don Juans who confuse high price with high quality, and who chase after the name brand, not the person.

It is interesting to note that the authors of both books frame the techniques in a rather positive light. They call it making yourself a "challenge" so that the person doesn't lose interest. But nowhere do they say that people who respond to such things are among the least socially savvy of anyone. It's basically smart marketing for dumb people. Their approach is, don't fix the deficiency, use it to your advantage.

The basic root of the problem is the consumerist mindset, where even human relations are treated as disposable. If there is a slight flaw in the packaging the "product" is overlooked, and if the price of the product goes up (or it's threatened to go up) they want it more. As long as there is room for people to become even dumber this trend will continue unchecked.

It's a downward spiral for fools. And those who seek to make money off these fools will be pulled down after them.

One can only hope that the day will soon come when people will start leaving the shiny things at home.

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