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Sunday, April 16, 2006

The Scott Adams Pleasure Unit Theory

From the Scott Adams Dilbert Blog:

Pleasure Unit Theory: People organize their lives to get their minimum required units of pleasure. While individuals vary in terms of how many units of pleasure they need, everyone is striving to reach their personal minimum.

I just saw a picture of Eve Longoria on a magazine cover. She has nearly zero body fat and a perfectly toned body. If you believe in free will, you might be puzzled as to why celebrities can be so thin when regular people can't come close.

Your first thought might be that celebrities have more to gain by being thin. For them it's a job, and they can afford to have private trainers and put in the gym hours. That's part of it. But I guarantee that Eve Longoria also eats fewer calories than you. How does she get the will power?

If you subscribe to the popular superstition called free will, you probably think she has unusually strong will power when it comes to resisting food. I look at it this way: She already exceeds her minimum level of pleasure with fame, money, and dating a ripped young athlete.

When Eve looks at a piece of pie, she knows it might increase her total happiness for that day by only 1%, at the price of losing all the other things that bring her pleasure. By contrast, when you look at that same piece of pie, eating it might be the only good thing that happens to you all day. You NEED the pie to get close to your minimum pleasure units.

My theory explains all the following:
  1. Why poor people are fatter than rich people.
  2. Why people with crappy lives do drugs that are sure to be destructive in the long run.
  3. Why you are reading this blog instead of working.
Discuss.

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4 Comments:

At 9:24 AM, Blogger Weaver said...

That makes me wonder why a number of famous, rich, celebrity types get into trouble with drugs?

Hmmm...

Chris Weaver
www.TVPhotogBlog.com

 
At 11:17 AM, Anonymous Ethan said...

"When Eve looks at a piece of pie, she knows it might increase her total happiness for that day by only 1%, at the price of losing all the other things that bring her pleasure."

Scott Adams assumes that this is a world where thin celebs (and non-celebs) don't stick their fingers down their throats after every meal. This is a rather forward statement on his part, that assumes intimate knowledge of how Eva Longoria thinks.

 
At 7:29 AM, Blogger Riĉjo said...

Exactly what influence is "free will" supposed to be free from?

It's just a lame rationalization used by superstitious people who think their gods are angry at them for being the way their gods made them to be.

 
At 1:43 PM, Blogger wriggles said...

While individuals vary in terms of how many units of pleasure they need, everyone is striving to reach their personal minimum.

I think this is unknown, but I suspect what's more likely is that our innate levels of pleash, movement and calories are about the same.

What seems to cause the varients in weight mood etc, is environment(upbringing, culture etc) and genes.

When I say genes, personally I don't believe there is a fat gene as such, unless it's rare, it's more that the fat response kicks in differently and under different circumstances for different people.

I reckon an overlooked reason behind poor people being fat, (and it's different here in the UK than US, it varies, a lot of poor are very thin and some fat-) is less respect for their individuality, to the point where their needs become obscured and obtuse. Being poor is about constant make do and mend, almost never getting quite what you want/need.

It leads to a state of disastification and feeling of being trapped that tends to presipitate depression, which is a big factor for the fat response to kick in (as prevention).

 

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