Endowment effect is killing us

I’ve been getting rid of a lot of stuff lately. Practicing what I preach when it comes to understanding that the things we have don’t define us—we define ourselves. One of the challenges of getting rid of something like a pair of cute shoes that I haven’t worn in over a year is that the endowment effect kicks into gear.

Basically, the endowment effect says that you value something more because you own it. This is why the question, “If I didn’t already have this item, how much would I pay for it?” helps when purging clothes that don’t fit or haven’t been worn in years. I’ve been thinking about the endowment effect and how it seems like it’s at play with all the horrendous gun related terror that’s been weighing heavy on my mind lately.

It feels like our country’s gun politics are a box full of wires that have accumulated over the years: old cell phone chargers, speaker wire, USB cords, extra ear buds, phone chargers for the car, wires that go with the t.v., wires that go with the computer. They’re all tangled up and doing nothing except for frustrating the hell out of us because to untangle and get rid of them seems impossible. Yet, we hold on to the mess because it’s familiar to us. We own it. It’s ours. The Second Amendment and all its semiautomatic outcomes are literally killing us.

We cling to the right to bear arms like it defines us. As if by letting go of it, we let go of our autonomy, our identity, ourselves.

From where I’m standing, our world looks like a mess. A complicated tangle of policies that don’t serve people, institutionalized racism, consumer madness that trashes the planet, and so on. It’s overwhelming and heartbreaking when you start to think about it, so our tendency is to either ignore it or be paralyzed by it. It’s time to declusterf%*! our world, one outdated thought//system//policy at a time.