Fads in belief

Over time, some people embrace edge beliefs like ear candling, the Stein Harmonizer and hydrogen infused water, among thousands of others. Our search for reassurance and belief is built deep into our culture. And if it’s not hurting anyone and you can afford it, a placebo is a fine tool, and often a bargain, possibly effective as well.

It’s fascinating to note, though, that some people have embraced none of these edge ideas, while other people are regulars, moving from one to the other as each loses steam (you’re unlikely to know someone who currently keeps his razor in a pyramid to keep it sharp but it used to be common).

Why the need to switch? Why not stick with one for decades? And if you switch, what story do you tell yourself about this pattern–are you discovering that the prior ones weren’t nearly as effective as you hoped, but this one will definitely be the one? Or is it more likely that focusing on future prospects is simply more effective and enjoyable than acknowledging the long string that came before?

[The same behaviors can be seen in some stock investors, political pundits and diet gurus as well.]

It’s worth noting that fad beliefs are embraced precisely because they’re fad beliefs–temporary stories that bring solace, not breakthroughs in the long-term engineering of well being.