Tuesday, May 19, 2009

There's a Message in What We Buy, but Nobody’s Listening

I love this stuff! I'm sure there's a road map between the pathway hinted at by Dr. Miller between the practicality of our shared evolutionary history and our moral aspirations that is filled by faith and biblical theology - since morality, beauty, truth, purpose, meaning and love have no purchase or traction in a naturalistic landscape. (And, yes, of course I'm familiar with evolutionary psychology memes on the naturalistic purposes of religion and love, but these theories, understood, only make my point).

An excerpt:

To get over your consuming obsessions, Dr. Miller suggests exercises like comparing the relative costs and pleasures of the stuff you've bought. (You can try the exercise at nytimes.com/tierneylab.) It may seem odd that we need these exercises — why would natural selection leave us with such unproductive fetishes? — but Dr. Miller says it's not surprising.

"Evolution is good at getting us to avoid death, desperation and celibacy, but it's not that good at getting us to feel happy," he says, calling our desire to impress strangers a quirky evolutionary byproduct of a smaller social world.

In other words, evolution has real value up and until the point of sentient thought. After that, not so much.  Could be an interesting study for believers...

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