Waking up to Wisdom
In Stillness and Community

Evolution's Gold Standard

--by Diane Ackerman (Aug 16, 2011)

Feeling low? According to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research, when people feel bad, their sense of touch quickens and they instinctively want to hug something or someone. Tykes cling to a teddy bear or blanket. It’s a mammal thing. If young mammals feel gloomy, it’s usually because they’re hurt, sick, cold, scared or lost. So their brain rewards them with a gust of pleasure if they scamper back to mom for a warm nuzzle and a meal. No need to think it over. All they know is that, when a negative mood hits, a cuddle just feels right; and if they’re upbeat and alert, then their eyes hunger for new sights and they’re itching to explore.
It’s part of evolution’s gold standard, the old carrot-and-stick gambit, an impulse that evades reflection because it evolved to help infants thrive by telling them what to do — not in words but in sequins of taste, heartwarming touches, piquant smells, luscious colors.
Back in the days before our kind knew what berries to eat, let alone which merlot to choose or HD-TV to buy, the question naturally arose: How do you teach a reckless animal to live smart? Some brains endorsed correct, lifesaving behavior by doling out sensory rewards. Healthy food just tasted yummy, which is why we now crave the sweet, salty, fatty foods our ancestors did -- except that for them such essentials were rare, needing to be painstakingly gathered or hunted. The seasoned hedonists lived to explore and nuzzle another day -- long enough to pass along their snuggly, junk-food-bedeviled genes.
As with so many other aspects of life, we adults still play by the rules we learned in infancy. Feel bad, need a hug. Scary movie, grab the hand of your date. Hungry, nosh on salty chips not kelp noodles.
What does this have to do with “consumer research?” Wouldn’t you know it, five experiments have pinpointed how to capitalize on the findings and connect with shoppers in different moods. Apparently, someone feeling low is likely to respond more to the velvety ooze of a hand lotion, while a cheerful person is likely to respond more to the product’s shiny bottle and festive packaging.
Is no mood safe from marketing and manipulation, you may wonder? Apparently not. They can ambush your animal senses, whatever state your brain may occupy, no matter if you’re in the dumps or riding high. If the meringue-like hand cream doesn’t entice you one day, the Eiffel Tower-shaped box might on another. [...]
Can one outsmart the dictates of evolution? Sure, we do it all the time.  [...] Are we aware of where our drives are driving us? Rarely.
--Diane Ackerman, in Evolution's Gold Standard

Add Your Reflection:

Send me an email when another comment is posted on this passage.
Name: Email:

Previous Reflections:

On Aug 13, 2011 Conrad wrote:

Thank you Somik for the opportunity to respond

Paradoxically, karma seems to work for me. I still have many bad habits which facilitates my obesity and impatience , and many other shortcomings. Doing something about them is worthwhile. Meditation and practicing patience and peacefulness helps me much. Change for me is very slow. I must often remind myself that it is helpful to forgive myself, again, and again, and again. Karma is paradoxical in the sense that I do not gain merit from meditation, but it does help me to be myself, which, when I am mindful, I know that everything I do can be a meditation leading me towards more compassion for others and myself. This often fosters  a temporary realization that  I am no separate  one, going, nowhere. It also helps me to realize there is as the prajnaparamita says: "no  knowledge, no attainment, no realization, for there is nothing to attain." I must admit that I don't think that way very often unless I am asked to respond to comments by someone like Diane Ackerman. As Gandhi said: "If you don't see God in the next person you meet, it is a waste of time looking for him further. Meditation helps one see God in oneself even though that God might not be a being separate from the universe.

Warm and kind regards to everyone




How does awareness of my drives as a practice and an outcome of cultivation play out for me?" And him will him and him and him

On Aug 13, 2011 pk wrote:

 Five senses are our connectors to the outside world and yes, the dominant species in the world -- currently business organizations will try to take advantage of those connections. They want to make money and some times we welcome their personalization or customization to offer what we need. These are unconscious set of drives that dictate our autopilot behaviors. They are easy to manipulate.

The key to choosing is not just awareness but attention to that awareness. When we pay attention to what triggers our energy, what drives help us move towards happiness, peace or satisfaction, then we might be able to create appropriate alarms that help us pay attention when it happens. it takes time and practice to become aware and pay attention but it is definitely worth it.

For example, I am in San Antonio in a management conference. We have a big exhibition with so many book publishers offering attractive discounts on their books. In addition, on the last day of the conference, many of these publishers give away their books for almost nothing and knowing that, I keep track of books that I want to buy. The ones I must have, buy them right away but others I pay attention and on the last day I normally get a box full of them for 60-80%. It is reverse of what Diane is mentioning above. Businesses use our drives to drive us where they want us to and when we pay attention, we can do the same.

It is knowing that you have freedom to choose that allows one to not become a victim.


On Aug 14, 2011 rahul wrote:

The passage reminds me a of a conversation I was having with a friend where I complained about the insidiousness of the media world, continually snagging, distracting, trapping, and dissipating people.  He responded by acknowledging that truth, but pointing out that to get snagged, you have to have hooks.  The lesson for me was that its more important to work on smoothing out those latent tendencies and desires that lead us to our own entrapment than complaining about the systems that are designed to trap people.

Anyone who has bought organic vegetables knows that they spoil much faster than industrial vegetables.  Anyone who has visited a tropical forest knows that there are tons of bugs that want to eat a little piece of your body. It seems that wherever there is some life energy, there is something that is trying to take a little bit of that energy for itself.  In a modern western environment where we have largely eliminated the natural pests that perform this function, we seem to have incorporated the pestilence into our collective nature, where to varying degrees, people live off the energy, attention, and inattention of their fellow man.  To some degree, this is a statement of our interconnectedness, but just beyond that is the realm of our individual intentions in the world.  We must take to live, but we must also give to live.  What is the most skillful way to dance in that reality?

The only answer seems to come from concentrating and deepening our attention so we're conscious of our hooks, and put some space between us and our lures.  The space gives us choice, and choice offers us increasing freedom in outsmarting our evolutionary hooks.

On Aug 14, 2011 navin sata wrote:

In spritual perspective  most of us are like fish in water,we let our senses  wonder in endless ocean of material world  all marketing techniques  are fisherman with sensual baits once mind gets hooked on this lure ,and finds comfort in it  than endless cycle of sensual  contnues. we reason it in the name of  1. material necessity for our life style . our desires have no end they drive us from birth to death  .     only true spiritual knowlege can free us from all the marketing it takes us beyond body mind and intlect. always ask your self  what is the end resault.  it is described    -      In scripture  our body is our vehicle,five senses are five horses that we ride our veachle with, in this roads of life,our intlect  is reins  that contrlols our senses(horses) our true spirit soul is driver and passenger is our individual war of mahabharat great warrior Arjun ask shri krishna to be his driver to guide him . we surrender to lord let our life and action follow spiritual advise shri krshna gave to all mankind. so the root  question s answer is in spirtual knowelege( think outside the box )  always love navin                                                                                                                                                                               

On Aug 16, 2011 Derek wrote:

 Finally! A passage that is easy to read and accessible to most. 

This exerpt gives me pause because it explains why react under certain circumstances. For example, feeling lustful just after a break up with a significant other... quickly wanting to fill that gap of lost intimacy. Knowing so... maybe my actions will be different in the futue.  Thank you. Derek

On Aug 17, 2011 Ganoba wrote:

 This passage should not have appeared in this space.

On Aug 18, 2011 sekaran wrote:

absolutely acceptable

On Aug 19, 2011 Austin Correia MSFS wrote:

 People who have stuff to offer, might as well learn marketing strategies.

On Aug 19, 2011 Dinesh wrote:

Audio reflections from our circle on marketing and its effect on our senses ...

On Aug 21, 2011 Abid Hussain wrote:

fair enough but people always think it is naive ,as it is not ,we must understand this

On Sep 9, 2017 aliee wrote:

 Zhang mind is not the sameWholesale Air Jordan Shoes as the old tofu, the first is to do so soft tofu, soft like a soup, not a shape; followed by the tofu less, plus soup, a bowl of old tofu half bowl of soup The Therefore, for some Authentic Men's Nike Shoes time, Zhang mind in front of cold and clear. One morning, because I got up Size 14 15 16 Jordan Shoes late, had Air Max Tailwind 7 to come to Zhang's tofu shop. After eating a bowl of old tofu, the boss came, smiled and asked me how tofu. I tell the truth: 'taste okay, that is, tofu a little soft.' The boss smiled, as much as satisfied with the way. I said: 'Why do not you learn to learn it?' The boss looked at me and said, 'What is he?' I said, Cheap Nike Shoes Sale 'Make the tofu really strong!' The boss asked me, 'Why should I learn from him?' 'I thought, you said,Nike CTR360 Maestri III TF to me here to eat less tofu, is it?'

On Dec 3, 2017 Monday12 Monday12 wrote:


the north face   ugg outlet   ralph lauren uk   coach factory outlet   hermens bags   yeezy boost   adidas yeezy boost   ralph lauren uk   canada goose jackets   cheap jordans   ralph lauren outlet   cheap jordans   louboutin shoes   pandora charms   pandora jewelry   yeezy 350 boost   oakley sunglasses   michael kors outlet online   canada goose outlet   ugg outlet   oakley sunglasses   air jordan shoes   north face jackets   coach outlet store   canada goose jackets   pandora jewelry   nmd shoes   coach factory outlet online   canada goose outlet   hermes bags   coach factory outlet   north face outlet   coach bags   ugg boots   uggs   canada goose outlet   canada goose outlet   coach outlet   moncler   ugg outlet   ugg outlet   jordan shoes   coach outlet   moncler jackets   coach outlet store   ugg boots   nike shoes   canada goose jackets   coach canada   mulberry handbags   polo ralph lauren   cheap uggs   coach factory outlet   fitflops   ugg outlet   salvatore ferragamo   coach factory outlet   jordan shoes   ugg outlet   cheap mlb jerseys   michael kors outlet clearance   canada goose   air jordans   christian louboutin outlet   uggs canada   polo ralph lauren outlet   kate spade outlet store   cheap ray bans   michael kors canada   coach handbags   hermes handbags   canada goose sale   fitflops sale   nike outlet online   michael kors outlet clearance   ugg outlet   air jordan shoes   adidas shoes   ray ban sunglasses   nike outlet store   coach factory outlet   ralph lauren outlet   ralph lauren uk   coach outlet   ugg boots on sale   polo ralph lauren outlet   cheap ugg boots   ugg outlet   ugg ustralia   cheap jordans   ugg shoes   nmd adidas   coach outlet online   louboutin shoes   uggs sale   polo ralph lauren outlet online   uggs outlet   north face outlet   louis vuitton outlet store   cheap jerseys   burberry outlet canada   cheap uggs   ray ban sunglasses discount   coach factory outlet   ugg boots   cheap ray ban sunglasses   ralph lauren outlet   canada goose   polo outlet   polo ralph lauren outlet online   coach outlet store online clearances   adidas superstar   ralph lauren outlet   moncler jackets   coach canada   michael kors outlet store   canada goose outlet   ugg boots   burberry   cheap mlb jerseys china   longchamp outlet   columbia sportswear   canada goose outlet   ugg boots on sale   christian louboutin   adidas outlet   adidas yeezy   adidas nmd   canada goose jackets   nike outlet   kate spade outlet   north face jackets   ugg outlet   kate spade   nike air max   louis vuitton outlet   kate spade handbags   pandora jewelry outlet   adidas shoes   ugg boots   louis vuitton   michael kors outlet   ugg boots   jordan retro   louis vuitton outlet   cheap jordans   air max 2017   nike outlet   longchamp handbags   ugg outlet   nike shoes   air max 2018   ralph lauren outlet   canada goose outlet   polo ralph lauren outlet online   timberland outlet   ray ban sunglasses   michael kors outlet   cheap mlb jerseys   ugg boots   michael kors factory outlet   ferragamo outlet   cheap oakley sunglasses   polo outlet   moncler   north face jackets   ugg outlet   coach outlet   mulberry bags   ralph lauren outlet   moncler jackets outlet   uggs outlet   harden vol 1   gucci handbags   canada goose   ugg outlet   mbt shoes   burberry outlet store   cheap jordans free shipping   nike shoes   tory burch outlet store   christian louboutin outlet   canada goose sale   ugg australia   mlb jerseys cheap   uggs canada   nike outlet store   moncler outlet   tory burch outlet   ugg boots   kate spade bags   cheap mlb jerseys   birkenstocks   longchamp outlet   air jordans   canada goose sale   pandora charms uk   ralph lauren   coach outlet   louis vuitton outlet online   coach outlet   ugg boots   burberry sale   ralph lauren sale clearance   oakley sunglasses   mulberry uk   yeezy boost 350   coach factorty outlet   louis vuitton factory outlet   jordan retro 11   ugg outlet   michael kors outlet clearance   canada goose outlet   canada goose uk   red bottom shoes   ugg boots   polo ralph lauren outlet online   valentino shoes   canada goose outlet   ugg boots   ugg boots   nmd adidas   pandora charms sale   ugg boots for women   adidas shoes   michael kors outlet   ugg outlet online   supreme clothing   ralph lauren outlet   north face outlet online   michael kors outlet clearance   louis vuitton outlet online   salvatore ferragamo shoes   ray ban sunglasses   michael kors outlet   ugg outlet store   cheap uggs   pandora charms   adidas yeezy   michael kors outlet   coach outlet   hermes handbags   birkenstock sandals   canada goose jackets   pandora outlet   burberry outlet   ralph lauren uk   coach outlet store online   adidas nmd   jordans   louis vuitton outlet   uggs   pandora charms sale   michael kors outlet   adidas yeezy   kate spade handbag   canada goose uk   canada goose   coach outlet   cheap nfl jerseys   ralph lauren sale clearance   discount oakley sunglasses   michael kors outlet   canada goose clothing   michael kors handbags   coach outlet   cheap jordans   moncler uk   coach outlet   michael kors outlet clearance   cheap uggs   ugg outlet online   michael kors outlet   pandora uk   moncler outlet   michael kors outlet   ralph lauren outlet   canada goose jackets   hermes outlet   adidas outlet   ugg sale   louis vuitton outlet store   nike outlet   tory burch outlet   moncler coats   ugg outlet   moncler outlet   moncler outlet   adidas outlet   michael kors canada   coach outlet   coach outlet   christian louboutin outlet   uggs clearance   pandora jewelry   cheap nfl jerseys   ralph lauren outlet online   michael kors outlet   ugg outlet   oakley sunglasses   canada goose outlet   ralph lauren outlet   nike store   toms outlet   coach factory outlet   kate spade outlet   burberry outlet   polo ralph lauren   pandora   canada goose outlet   nike shoes for men   ralph lauren outlet online   louis vuitton outlet   canada goose jackets   fred perry   ugg outlet   coach factory outlet   pandora jewelry   cheap ray bans   canada goose   canada goose outlet   yeezy boost   michael kors uk   yeezy boost   hermes birkin   michael kors outlet   canada goose uk   ferragamo shoes   valentino shoes outlet   gucci outlet   uggs on sale   coach outlet store   fred perry polo   ugg outlet   pandora charms sale clearance   moncler jackets   supreme new york   coach outlet   ugg boots   coach outlet   michael kors outlet   canada goose sale   uggs   coach outlet   ugg canada   canada goose uk   canada goose coats   ugg outlet   uggs canada   adidas yeezy   michael kors handbags   coach outlet online   uggs outlet   adidas nmd   coach factory outlet   moncler jackets   canada goose outlet   ugg outlet   coach factory outlet   cheap jerseys from china   nfl jerseys wholesale   coach outlet   canada goose uk   moncler outlet   pandora charms   coach outlet store   christian louboutin   canada goose outlet   canada goose outlet   north face outlet   ugg   moncler jackets   kate spade   coach outlet   cat boots   coach outlet store   pandora jewelry   coach outlet   ultra boost   coach factorty outlet   coach outlet   red bottoms shoes   michael kors outlet online   pandora charms sale clearance   longchamp outlet online   ugg australia   canada goose outlet   ugg shoes   cheap ray ban sunglasses   pandora charms   polo ralph lauren outlet   michael kors outlet   canada goose jackets   coach factory outlet online   pandora jewelry   canada goose jackets uk   nike air max   timberland boots   red bottoms   ugg outlet   hermes handbags   coach outlet   michael kors handbags   coach factory outlet   pandora outlet   adidas yeezy boost   mbt shoes   ralph lauren outlet   polo ralph lauren outlet online   canada goose   ugg outlet   canada goose jackets   ugg boots   ralph lauren outlet   michael kors outlet   michael kors outlet   pandora outlet   north face jackets   canada goose sale   canada goose outlet   coach factory outlet   adidas superstar   coach outlet   canada goose outlet   mulberry outlet   pandora charms   coach factory outlet   ugg uk   doudoune moncler   uggs outlet   ugg boots   ralph lauren outlet   canadian goose   ugg outlet   cheap ray ban sunglasses   canada goose   moncler outlet   canada goose outlet   uggs clearance   ugg boots canada   canada goose uk   adidas shoes   longchamp handbags   cheap jordans for sale   burberry outlet   michael kors outlet store   ralph lauren outlet   supreme clothing helinlin20171204

On Jan 9, 2018 Shahid Malik wrote:
absolutely acceptable