Posts Tagged ‘Free’

The Power of FREE!

Thursday, May 8th, 2008

Sarah Arrow, a voracious reader, kindly brought this blog to my attention, which is well worth a read, and basically talks about the slightly irrational way we react to things marked as “Free“. Now we know in today’s world, there is no such thing as a free lunch, but this doesn’t stop us being ensnared by this magic formula “Free“. Here is a small extract of the piece:-

Imagine you are in the market for an Amazon gift certificate. Consider which of these two offers you would go for (try to do it quickly):

  • A $10 gift certificate for FREE!
  • A $20 gift certificate costing $7.

If your first instinct is the same as absolutely everyone in a study carried out by Shampan’er and Ariely (2006) you’ll take the first option, the free option. Economically, though, this doesn’t make any sense. When you look at it you can see that the $20 gift certificate is actually better value: you actually get a $13 gift certificate for free, but this is camouflaged by the question. That word ‘free’ just shakes all rationality out of us.”

The word has a great deal of power in other areas too. Think about the attraction of idea of being unfettered, burdened by no responsibilities, your deeds having no consequences, cheating Fate, being Free! How many times do you here this line in dramas “I just need to be free!” Of course one reason for its seductive power is that we all know that it simply is a fantasy.

We are (relatively) free to choose our actions, but the consequences are generated by the Universe. At times it might feel like a giant game of Snakes & Ladders, where we patiently wait our turn, throw the dice, march forward a few steps then wait again. Of course, occasionally we find a ‘ladder’ and jump up a level, and then somehow contrive to sabotage ourselves and slide down our own personal ‘snake’.

I guess one of the markers of being an adult is taking responsibility for our actions, and accepting the consequences for our choices. If there seem to be a few too many ‘snakes’ in your life at present then maybe this is a good time to make some different choices and see if they work for you. I wish you luck and hope you roll a 6!

“A human being is part of a whole, called by us the Universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.” Albert Einstein

“The truth shall make you free, but first it shall make you angry”