Free Money and Virtual PunishmentPosted: 2012/01/17
Today I learned:
1. There is free money: I met someone today that told me (and I am closely paraphrasing here), “We are in a golden age. Money is essentially free. The investment climate is such that we can guarantee returns in the future will be better than the returns we can obtain today. That means you need to spend your dollar today on (insert crazy idea), because the same dollar will be worth less tomorrow.”
I thought about arguing but I couldn’t quite decide where to start. Then I decided that the lesson from this was more easily learned: I now know one more place I will not invest my money.
2. Virtual Punishment feels good: I spoke to a person that told me he was watching the movie I Don’t Know How She Does it, and it was so bad he stopped it, deleted it and then made sure to take the extra step and empty the Trash on his computer as some sort of punishment for the bits and bytes that made up the digital file. He said it made him feel better to know the cinematic atrocity was completely removed from his computer.
It occurred to me that while I agree with his sentiment – I have done exactly the same thing – it is completely illogical. Why bother emptying the Trash? And, why does it make you feel so good?
Assuming related animal research (link p. 159, paragraph 3) is transferrable, the desire to punish appears to be innate. I suppose it is the origin of “an eye for an eye.” But that only answers why an angry person might pick on something tangible, like kicking a flat tire or cursing a jammed printer. It doesn’t answer why virtual punishment makes any sense.
The only explanation I can come up with is that as our devices get “smarter” we also begin to attribute human characteristics to them. There is some sense to this. We’ve all seen Mad Max so we know how things turn out. I bet no one is Trashing that file, for fear of reprisal.