Author Topic: Spent (2009) by Geoffrey Miller  (Read 863 times)


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Spent (2009) by Geoffrey Miller
« on: February 15, 2020, 06:32:50 PM »
I happened to notice a book at our library with an intriguing title: Spent (subtitle Sex, Evolution and Consumer Behavior). After checking it out I did a brief skim of it that it wasn't worth my time reading it (it attempts to understand modern consumer behavior with reference to our evolutionary past). But I did notice an appendix of exercises for the reader that includes what the author calls "The Natural Living Test", where you ask yourself a series of questions regarding whether, in the past month, you have had any of a list of experiences that our Cro-Magnon ancestors would have experienced (e.g. rocking a baby to sleep, satisfying genuine thirst by drinking water, improving a skill through diligent practice...). Once you have figured out how few on the list you have actually experienced, he recommends you write a 500 word essay to yourself explaining why you expect your life to be happy or meaningful if you are not doing anything meaningful for others or feeding your brain any of the natural experiences that it evolved to value and find meaningful.

Our community has shared a lot of different reasons for why one should adopt a frugal and/or minimalist lifestyle, but I hadn't previously picked up on the idea that there is an evolutionary argument to be made for why one should adopt a Stoic perspective towards life, and in particular, reject consumerism.