Psychologist Paul Bloom studies the nature of pleasure. In this conversation with Ben Lillie, he discusses how knowing the history of an object can profoundly affect our enjoyment of it.
Why is the origin of things so deeply important to us?
Essentialism is, in general, a biological adaptation, a particularly clever and important adaptation that drives us to focus on the deeper aspect of things. For a lot of things, the capacity to go beyond the surface makes a big difference. It matters, when you look at people, not to be entirely moved by what they look like, but also to be influenced by what you believe to be their histories and their hidden properties. For food, it matters where it came from and what it touched. For animals, you want to know what they can do to you and how they behave, not just their surface appearance. For these reasons, I think we’ve…
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