This is a Necker Cube. It’s interesting because almost all of us can see it two different ways. When I first look at it, I see a cube whose front face is bottom left. But if I stare at it long enough, it flips to the top right. You might see it the other way round. Either way, you will be able to see it in either orientation, given enough time.
The Necker Cube is often used to show that our brains are capable of coming to two different conclusions based on the information presented. Each conclusion is equally valid and we can switch between each conclusion without the underlying data changing at all.
I know it looks like a party trick, but it’s actually an easily understood example of something we do all the time. Our perception of the facts can change our worldview dramatically. If I told you were to be paid $300,000 per annum, your perception of whether was a good thing or a bad thing would depend a lot on what everybody else was being paid.
If you believe that you are missing out on something that everybody else is getting then you feel hard done by. And you will be driven extra hard to get a piece of that action. But you have to believe that you are being deprived of a benefit associated with what they are getting.
What would be your attitude to a substance that, if ingested, would immediately double your waist size, and your risk of heart disease and type II diabetes and make you a candidate for Alzheimer’s and a range of cancers? Is there any potential benefit that would make that worthwhile? I’m struggling to think of one but if you can, don’t be shy, fill in the comment at the bottom of the post.
Sugar won’t do that to you immediately, you have to stay addicted to it for 20 years. So does the 20 year delay make it more worthwhile? Does it lower the price? Is there a pleasure you’d be prepared to swap for that, if you get to live 20 years before it happens? Still no from me. How about you?
Like all addictive substances, there is a benefit to having sugar the second and subsequent time. It scratches the addiction itch created by the last time you consumed it. But other than scratching that itch, is there really any significant benefit to be derived from eating it? Think about it. Exactly how is your life improved by having it?
Some people might say it makes them feel better. But harking back to Part 2, all that’s really going on is brief relief from the mild depression caused by the last time you ate sugar (rather like the pleasure you get from taking off pants that are too tight – but do you really want to keep wearing tight pants just to get that moment of pleasure). Other than that, can you name a single benefit from a sugar hit?
The only people envious of heroin addicts are other heroin addicts. Everyone else can see plainly that the downsides outweigh any small possibility of an upside. The only people envious of sugar addicts are other sugar addicts. Unfortunately, in our society, that’s most of us from the age of our first word onwards. Once you are no longer an addict it’s very hard to see a benefit at all.
So there’s lots of downside and the only tiny upside will go away as soon as you beat the addiction. Do you really have cause to feel deprived? No, but willpower diets demand that you feel deprived. They ask you to ‘go without’ and to ‘give up a treat’. Feeling deprived will simply drive you back into the arms of the addiction. The only way to break the addiction is to perform a Necker Cube flip and see the so called, deprivation as a desire not to be poisoned.
If you want to succeed you mustn’t feel you are being deprived of anything. You need to take pity on the poor hopeless addicts that are all around you ingesting poison. You need to view any offering of sugar not as a temptation to be overcome but as an attempt to poison you (perhaps a little extreme but you get the idea).
So don’t feel deprived. You are not giving up anything. You are simply stopping a dangerous and harmful addiction.
It really is that simple to break an addiction. Have the right attitude and staying sugar free becomes a lot easier than you could possibly imagine.
As Thomas Jefferson once said (before political correctness): “Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.”
Next Week: Overcoming temptation…