Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Being irrational

The problem is, nine times out of ten, statistics are made up. No, that isn't the real problem; nine times out of ten, we don't look properly at a situation, we make a snap judgment based off of the little information we have, and work from there. Sometimes it's helpful; in a snap judgment, we can actually glean a lot more than weeks of rigorous analysis would've got us. But usually, it results in stereotyping, and prejudice often in its most subtle form. I'm here not to ask is being irrational bad, I'm here to ask if it's acceptable.

Businesses sell to customers by making them want something they'd probably never heard of before; often by making them think that they need it, or that it will enhance their quality of life, or both. The problem for any business that is selling something, or really any business in general, is that they have to tread on the eggshells of the human mind. If you have a really effective product that does everything a man or woman could ever want but looks like Satan crapped it out, then nobody is going to buy it, because they stop short at the sight of the demon-crap product and think "Oh, Gods, this looks awful, it could NEVER serve any of my needs!"

There is no working around this. Businesses either cater for customer's aesthetic as well as practical needs, or they go out of business. This is what I mean by the treading on eggshells; if they get the wrong sense of their customers, then they won't sell, because the customers won't buy, because they don't trust the product.

The thing that inspired me to write this post was thinking about myself and when I'm a customer, and when I catch myself making these irrational judgments. I have to ask myself "Is it right to do that?" The fact that businesses cater for the irrational doesn't necessarily mean we should be.

I imagine that the answer is probably no, we should always try new things, new products, we shouldn't just say "Screw you" to every business that doesn't quite make our expectations or desires... but that will probably never happen. I certainly would find it difficult myself, let alone if everyone else was expected to become automatic xenophiles.

I narrowed down on businesses because it's interesting to look at the psychological aspect of business, but the question of irrationality applies everywhere. I've yet to think of a time when it helps, or makes sense to be irrational... but sometimes, we just don't (or can't) grab ahold of reason, and we have to go by our baser instincts. Sometimes they lead us right, sometimes they lead to all kinds of shit.

And most of the time, it's really fucking difficult to tell which way is which.

~Love Leonidas

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