We live in a world of wild, damaging, unsustainable excess. We’re surrounded by unhealthy food options. We live in places built for cars, not for walking or biking. We’re buried in our screens 24⁄7. We face calls to buy stuff, endlessly. And we live in a consumer culture that is dependent on the notion of disposal. But here’s the thing. These excesses are so fully normalized, they so fully meet our expectations of how everyday life ought to look, that we no longer really see them as excessive at all.
One of the most recent paradigms that we’ve used to try to get this under experimental control is to ask people to act out pretend harmful actions. So for instance, we’ll give them a disabled handgun. We’ll show them that it’s fake. That it couldn’t possibly harm a fly. We put it in their hands and then we ask them to shoot us in the head.