A trip to the movies
When I ordered the ticket online I started thinking back, about when I’ve last been to one of those things. My impression was that it was probably a few years ago, perhaps 3. I’m pretty sure by now that the answer to the question is 2009 – I’m almost certain the last movie I watched in such a venue was Australia, which I watched with my parents not too long after it came out in Denmark. It’s the last movie I remember watching such a place anyway. (Which is not to say that the movie was memorable – it wasn’t).*
I believe people generally have some not-insignificant degree of influence over how unpleasant it is for them to forgo pleasurable activities the costs of which might not be justified given the budget constraint. I’ve basically not given the idea of going to a movie theater and pay quite a bit of money simply to watch a movie a thought for a few years, and when you don’t think about what you’re missing out on it doesn’t hurt nearly as much as if what you’re missing out on is an activity you engage in on a regular basis. Actually it doesn’t really hurt at all.
So I’ve employed a ‘don’t think about it, just forget that this type of thing is even an option’-strategy for some years now regarding these matters. Over the last couple of years I’ve started employing similar strategies when it comes to my eating habits. There are types of food I just don’t consume, and so never really think about anymore. Naturally most of the things I’ve deliberately cut out like that are unhealthy types of food.
Habits are very important both when it comes to which types of behaviour we engage in, and how we feel about how we spend our time and what we do. I believe that engaging in a bit of systematic thinking about optimal ways to impact habit formation every now and then may be time and effort well spent. Implicitly people do engage in this type of ‘selective blindness’ behaviour, where they overlook ways their lives are worse than others, without thinking about it all the time; you can’t really function well if you don’t. Most normal people don’t get annoyed every day by the fact that they don’t have a maid or a cook employed in their private residence, even though some other people do. The point is that if you mentally make an effort of systematically adding more variables to this ‘this is really quite irrelevant stuff I shouldn’t worry about anyway..’-set, you may be less likely to feel deprived (even though maybe you are).
Incidentally I don’t think I’m particularly likely to go to the movies again this year after today – it’s a one-time thing, which is a big part of why it’ll probably (hopefully?) be an enjoyable experience. Also, I’m finding it quite unlikely that I’ll be thinking in the months to come that I’m missing out after having had this experience and being reminded of what it’s like; another established habit of mine is to avoid new movies and books as much as possible, unless there are some quite exceptional circumstances at play which make me believe that I’m highly likely to enjoy the work in question.
*On second thought I now recall that I have watched Watchmen with my big brother, and I’m reasonably certain we went to a movie theater to see it. It also came out in 2009, but later during the year than Australia.
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