The Habit Society

⚡️ Can’t be tamed

To: Society Members

Good Morning!

Are you up for a challenge? Next week, on the first Monday of April, we’ll be sending you a month-long health challenge in collaboration with one of our members Rachel. Don’t worry, we’ll be starting slow. Stay on the lookout.

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Plato 101

In case you missed Greek Mythology class, here’s a sneak peek into the life of Plato and how his wisdom helps in the formation of habits, explained by Tamar Gendler on The Happiness Lab podcast. Welcome to Plato 101. Class is in session.

Plato

Plato’s Bio

Plato was an ancient philosopher in Athens. There, he ran a University called ‘The Academy’ (clever, Plato), where young Athenian intellectuals would answer life’s most paramount questions. (P.S. Aristotle went there. Was definitely the teacher’s pet.) A fundamental question that kept coming up was “How can we be happy?”

In Plato’s book titled, The Republic, he attempted to answer this question through the theory of…well everything. In the book, he describes the fundamental nature of the universe, physics, how mathematics underpins all physical reality, and what the ideal society would look like for human beings to flourish.

Wild Horsie

To explain the tension between humans and their temptations, he uses the analogy of a charioteer and two horses. Picture a charioteer driving a chariot with two horsesone noble horse and one wild horse. The noble one can be described as honourable, principled, and morally inclined based on other people’s perceptions. The wild horse, on the other hand, possesses the fundamental desires that we share with non-human animals. You know, sleep, sex, and the desire to scream at the Door Dash delivery man if he’s 15 minutes late.

Plato says in order to flourish, we need to control both of these horses, not just get rid of the wild horse. In fact, we need this wild one (and so does Flo Rida). It’s what propels humanity forwards. It’s the piece that holds our drives and passions. How could we possibly move forward as a species if your wild friend doesn’t make you laugh by changing her background in a company-wide zoom meeting?

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I Can’t Be Taaamed

Well, the wild horse, or “horse of appetite” cannot be controlled. This realization can be freeing in a sense because it’s the recognition that this part of our brains is truly animalistic and so deeply part of human nature.

But luckily, the noble horse can save us. Look at it this way, the noble horse picks up the slack (Slack group plug) for the wild horse. Or better yet, it’s the babysitter. Our noble horse can be taught and reasoned with.

Our noble horse has to take away any temptations for the wild horse: take away the bad food from sight, put blinders on it, and then only if temptations are impossible to escape, do you try and teach the wild horse self-control.

Plato says that it is not enough to control your appetite through the self-reflection process. You need cues, mechanisms, and structures to avoid these situations. You must pretend that that part of you is literally an animal that cannot be controlled. That part of us that is attracted to cheesecake is the same part of an animal that would also be attacked to…cheesecake.

Treat that wild horse side of us like animals, because just like Miley, it can’t be tamed. Human beings will inevitably find themselves being pulled in different directions. We can always choose to be our rational selves, but sometimes, a little more often than we’d like…the wild horse wins. So, put away the junk food, your phone, and whatever else you’re constantly being tempted by so that you don’t need to rely on self-control.

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Go wild. Share your unique referral link below with your entire contact list 😉

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