The Economics of Everyday Life: A Lesson in Lifestyle Design Prologue

October 10, 2007

Next to design, I think that economics may be my new favorite hobby-subject. Well, at least economics as practiced by the authors of Freakonomics. That is, practical, every day economics.

And I think I now understand the convergence of these areas of interest (design, psychology, economics). All of them involve the direct application of the scientific method to the everyday world.

That’ ssomething missing from chemistry, physics, etc. All of tha stuff is interesting. And certainly it al uses the scientific method. But ultimately it’s of very little use when it comes to actual day to day life. Yes, you can have ‘better living through chemistry’ but that’s only such a small part of it all. And even then, general knowledge of chemistry may make the world more fascinating, but it certainly won’t make it more practical. More pragmatic.

More and more I seem to judge the value of knowledge by its pragmatism. I wonder if that’s partly a sign of age, or just a sign of my personality.

Another interesting commonality between my current topics of interest is the preoccupation with the manipulation of my surroundings in order to manipulate my internal states / external actions. Basically, I try to ‘hack’ my life [as externally as possible] to get the desired final result. Interestingly, that frequently involves forays into practical design [though isn’t all design practical?]. Take for example the timer. Or my new homework sheets. All of these are simply mechanisms that place me immediately on track. Little design bricks to place me in the state of mind to get some sort of work done. The emphasis being on finding the proper stimulus for any given response.

Just to wrap in another topic, I think I enjoy applied mathematics because it offers me the chance to do something pragmatic with math as a tool. Sometimes math gets very airy-fairy. Any practical use immediately leads me to a deeper interest.

Interesting. My interest in design / psych / economics / mathematics all revolve around gaining the tools to get some sort of job done. It doesn’t come down to any certain domain of knowledge. Rather, it comes down to learning from that domain of knowledge as to actively do something positive in the world.

All of this reminds me for some reason of Flow by Csikszentmihalyi. Because really, flow is all about using ‘economics’ [i.e. objective study] to use ‘design’ to result in some sort of desired outcome. In this case, contentment bliss.

And me like.

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One Response to “The Economics of Everyday Life: A Lesson in Lifestyle Design Prologue”

  1. honey said

    yes economics is a practical . and indeed very useful in day to day life. it makes life simple and economical. but how you make economics as a subject intersting?;)

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