We live in a society, which worships the artificial and denies the natural. We live in a world, where normal is being stigmatized and the diversion is being raised in a cult.
We live in a society which follows the hypnotic rhythm, a result of the super – stimulus, which we are exposed to on a daily basis.
I love thinking about our evolution as human spices and its inability to catch up with the fast – changing world. When we start from technologies, food, lifestyle – every day everything is changing so quick, that a person, as an organism could hardly get adapted to the changes so quickly, without this leading to some kind of a void, some kind of a negative consequence.
The evolution itself is based on change and the natural adaptation to it. The problem is that adaptation requires time for that adaptation. Time which the fast – changing world doesn’t give us and this void, day after day intrudes in our life and we get to a stage where it is all we got – а stage, where our life is defined more by what we are not, than what we are.
Super – stimulus are what twists reality and to what we “owe” a big part of our failure to control our behavior and to endure the negative consequences of our actions.
The main problem is that culture and technologies evolve so quickly, while our genes evolve slower. Nowadays there is food in abundance, but our genes are adapted to more scarce quantities of food, hunting and gathering food. A big part of our actions, when they are not based on a conscious choice, are based on inner instincts. Instincts which are a result of our pre – programmed strive for survival. If we accept the fact that instincts are a result of the need of our ancestors to survive in an environment, which hides risks and shortage, then we could easily explain our “illogical” behavior.
As a consequence of our instincts and the conditions that pre – determine them, we by nature feel the need of calorie dense foods – nutritious foods with higher energetic and nutritional value. This fact is being used by the food industry and by the business industry as a whole. In the case with the food industry, it manipulates our inborn instincts, by using them for the increase of the demand and the proposal of unhealthy foods, foods which super – stimulate our senses, beyond what the real food, we evolved eating, could stimulate.
How the industry manipulates our subconscious mind?
This is true for all our necessities, which expand beyond the food we eat. If you take closer look, you will notice interesting trends in animations, beauty standards, the size and type of the packages and so forth. All of these changes have their logical explanation and in the roots of it is the skillful manipulation of our subconscious mind.
For example, we are attracted by a particular definition of “cuteness”, which hides the evolutionary goal to be attracted y cute looking beings, in order to take care for our younger peers. The characteristics, which lie in our notion about cute, are big eyes, childish traits like innocence, helplessness and so forth, bigger heads compared to the whole size of the body. Have you noticed the trends in animations? All these animation characters with huge eyes and heads; their cute look? This is just another trick to manipulate the mind and to encourage us to long for these animations and the products that follow them.
And when we talk about huge eyes…
Super – stimulus are the contemporary weapon, which turns us into dolls on strings in our own life. This is true for nutrition.
What determines the taste of food?
The taste of food is not determines just by the data that is being registered by one particular sense – i.e. the taste of food is not determined just y the perception of our taste buds’ receptors. Smell, touch, the texture and the sound, also play a huge role in if we define a food as tasty or not.
When something delicious gets in our mouth, its chemical structure falls apart under the influence of our saliva and the free circulating molecules get into our taste buds. If the molecule binds to a receptor cell, it will provoke the cell to conduct a sequence of chemical and electrical signals.
The suggestion is that after that everything comes up to the signals, which are being sent to the brain, but as it often happens, the process is a lot more complicated.
As I mentioned the taste of food and the information we get for it is based on a lot more data registered in the taste buds.
More often than not, taste is a combination of smell and taste and the interesting thing in this case is that the importance of taste gets second place.
The nerve fibers of our sense of smell, head towards our brain. Some of these fibers reach the hypothalamus – the center which controls appetite, fear, satisfaction; others reach the hippocampus, which is responsible for memories; third reach the brain stem, where they regulate basic functions as memory and breathing.
This kind of explains the reason why smells provoke such a strong emotional response.
Actually, the perception of taste is one of the most multi- sensible, keeping in mind that it includes smell, taste, the perception of our eyesight, hearing and so forth.
This is being used pretty skillfully by the business industry and in this case by food industry.
What is the reason about the precipice between the human instinct and the contemporary, man-made environment?
By evolving we have developed instincts, which help us, by directing our attention to stimulus in our environment, which we really need in order to survive. What we observe today is the substitution of stimulus, by the so called super- stimulus. They are those that could explain the precipice between the human instinct and the contemporary man – made environment. Super – stimulus are the roots of a lot of problems – obesity, TV addiction, video games addiction, twisted ideals for beauty and body shape and so forth. The man- made imitations of the real, natural foods and living organisms, have changed what we eat, the way we perceive our own self and the world around us.
I’d say that our life obeys to the moto “Act in a way, that will make something normal seem strange and then question the inborn, human instincts. “
Super – stimulus are everywhere. Our inability to resist them, is hidden in our unconscious actions and the instincts, formed throughout the centuries of evolution, when the environment used to be completely different and following our instincts was in our benefit. Nowadays, tough, we live in a different world which is characterized more with abundance, than with scarcity. Obeying these instincts harms us more than it helps us. Why?
I am sure that if you consciously observe the behavior of people around you, you will notice that every time there is an abundance of food, people choose the bigger portion, the bigger piece. We act this way, because it is exactly our instincts which are hidden deep behind our actions, which drive us to choose “the biggest one”. In the conditions of scarcity, in the past, such an instinct guaranteed our ancestors enough food, so they could survive in periods when there was food shortage.
Which apple would you choose?
But today, obeying this instinct drives us to show behavior and habits, which harm us more than they help.
Besides that, the food we eat is artificially created and its taste has nothing to do with the taste of the same food in its natural state. For example, the apple from the tree, in my village has one taste, and the one from the supermarket a different one.
This is completely true for every food.
Why are we attracted to the taste of chocolate bars, junk food and other foods from the supermarket?
Sweet things in the supermarket are super- stimulus. They contain huge amounts sugar, salt and fats – a lot more than the quantity of these ingredients in the food in its natural state. A chocolate bar, for example, has such an intense taste and it “hits” the taste buds so strong, in a way that no real food could do it. Taste buds are something like an alarm in the body. By differing a variety of tastes, our ancestors have formed an instinct about which foods are good and which are dangerous. The taste of the food we now eat, totally confuses our taste buds and their ability to identify food as healthy. What used to be considered healthy and tasty, nowadays can’t even be registered by our taste buds, because of all the artificial ingredients in our food. Our taste adapts to them and changes.
A typical example about how our subconscious is being manipulated, are the menus in the restaurants. The different sizes of the meals, play with our subconscious and always drives us to order the bigger portion. Even when we know that we can’t eat so much food, we always give up and order the largest. Just in case – so we won’t be left hungry!
Besides that super – stimulus, when it comes to food and artificial ingredients, which have a much more intense taste, influence our taste in a way, that the more we eat a particular food, the more we dull our senses and this leads to the need to eat bigger quantities, so we can sense the taste and feel pleasure.
Imagine that you are eating spicy food. If you do it rarely, even one bite might make you cry and sneeze. But if eating spicy food is a habit, you could probably eat more, without even having a tear. Besides that, once you get hot from the spicy food, even if you keep on eating it, you won’t feel anything, because your senses will be temporarily dulled.
Something similar happens with the taste we sense and the systematic consumption of foods, which are full of artificial ingredients. I remember the time when I used to eat a lot of junk food. Then, an apple was the tasteless thing in the world.
Today, when for more than two years and a half I haven’t eaten even a crumble of something different than real food, even carrots have a really sweet taste.
Taste buds change their sensibility! That’s why I always say that you should give healthy eating some time and that the less you eat junk food, the less you will feel like eating it and the worst it will taste if you try it.
By not realizing the presence of super- stimulus and their ability to manipulate our decisions, we become a hypnotized society, which could be easily manipulated by the food industry ( and not just it). The problem is that this have a negative influence on the quality of our life and our own health.
Even competition in business is based on who will manage to increase the per cent, with which super –stimulus tempt us. Notice the fast food restaurants – constantly appear new menus with more spicy food, more – crunchy food; sweeter food and so forth.
Thus, our desire to eat more salty, sweeter and more fatty foods is constantly increasing and the more we give in to this temptation, the more we distance ourselves from nature and our ability to consciously control our choices.
The surprisingly big influence of super –stimulus
One of my favorite books is Influence: Psychology of Conviction” by Robert Cialdini. In the book, Cialdini gives an example how birds always choose the bigger egg because from an evolutionary perspective this has a logical meaning. The smaller egg, is more likely to not be viable enough.
Then, the bird which chooses to give life to a smaller egg, would rob the spices of the opportunity to sustain itself and keep existing. That’s why the bird chooses the bigger egg, which guarantees the continuation of the spices. In this experiment, the interesting fact was that the eggs weren’t even laid by this breed of birds – i.e. the bird chooses another egg, just because it seems more likely to be viable. You can make your own conclusions, how powerful is the influence of super – stimulus, when a bird which has strong instincts could neglect its own egg, giving birth to the eggs of another spices.
Fortunately, we have advantage to the birds- we have bigger brain, which is developed to a level, which allows us to apply self- control, through which we could overcome the drive of our instincts and get out of the traps, which our contemporary civilization sets on every corner of our existence.
Does this mean that we are destined to be dolls on strings to every super- stimulus that gets on our way?
Actually, I think that we are not! I think that when a person is consciously aware of the existence of something, then he gets the strength to resist it and cope with his own choices – consciously and not just under the momentum drive born out of an inner instinct.
At the beginning you will need strong will- the will to not give in and to stick to your conscious choices.
You know how it is said that will has limits, i.e. that it is a resource that runs out and the more we use our will, the more we exhaust our ability to take advantage of its strength and resist temptations.
Still, I think that will is a mean, which helps us get started. Will is the one that serves us as a weapon, an instrument, with which we can stick to the choice we’ve made, even though we feel a strong drive to give in to temptation.
When we stick to a new model of behavior, for a certain amount of time, we have already distant ourselves from the manipulative grasp of super – stimulus and we don’t need will in order to sustain our choices.
That’s what happens with your diet! Trust me! If somebody have told me that there will come a day when I won’t taste even a crumble of junk food and that I won’t feel any desire to do it I would have laughed at him.
Yes, initially, I also showed some will to quit eating junk foods. Gradually, my taste buds, probably remembered what is the taste of real food and allowed me to enjoy it. Today I don’t need will anymore, because carrots are sweet, apples as well; steaks and eggs are delicious and I do not need to make my food’s taste stronger by adding manmade ingredients, which destroy my body.
Super-stimulus are one of the most powerful means, which are used to manipulate our mind. The packages in the supermarket become bigger, portions in the restaurants become bigger; the taste of foods becomes more intense and it dulls our natural senses and our perception about the world as a whole. They have made us believe that natural is not something normal and that is not tasty or tempting enough.
By realizing the presence of super- stimulus we could consciously choose to not allow them to influence us.
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