Pavlovian Conditioning in Smart Homes

Picture of Frederick Dodson

Frederick Dodson

I bought and moved into a house that had a posh Bosch fridge. I loved the gigantic freezer.

Until I heard the extra-shrill beeping if I didn’t close the fridge after about 30 seconds. 🚨

That’s not enough time to collect the items needed to cook. The loud noise creates a subtle stessor that I didn’t need in my life.

I called Bosch to learn how to switch it off. They said: That’s a SAFETY feature that can’t be turned off. Oh OK. Well, I guess you’re the Bosch.

“You know, I’m GLAD that my fridge warns me when I keep it open! It’s really helpful” one person told me.

Anyone remember the glorious 90s, 80s, 70s when fridges “not closing” wasn’t an issue? Many doors fell shut by themselves.

This smart-fridge needed an extra push to close. It didn’t close by itself. In fact, if I didn’t give the doors an extra shove it would stay open and the loud alarm would go off so loudly that it made my cat jump.

It’s like they need the difficult-to-shut door so that they can justify their Pavlovian alarm.

I teach the one of the most important life skills, attention-management so this stuff is matters to me. Folks lose a lot of their attention because of smart-gadgets.

I’m in a deep conversation with a student. He is on the cusp of a cosmic 🌠 realization about his life. Suddenly his phone beeps and he grabs it. “Oh, it’s just Grub Hub, notifying me that this Teriyaki restaurant is 5% off this month”. The moment was lost. Profound Inner transformation, disrupted by Grub Hub.

Attention is your #1 power.
It is your energy.
Guard it.
Choose where to put it.
Choose what to retrieve it from.
Attention is what you use to create reality.
The amount of attention-particles you have had your disposal, determines your success and health (see my book The Miracle of Awareness and Attention).

When I saw what the fridge did to the cat, I decided to get rid of it. It was hard to find a non “smart” fridge. I went to two large appliance shops and didn’t find any. There was not one salesperson who understood why I wouldn’t want a smart fridge.

“It makes life easier!”

Easier? Like being responsible for the closing of a fridge door is too hard a task?

“These new fridges are Wi-Fi connected. You can use an app to monitor what’s in your fridge. Then when you’re at the supermarket and forgot what’s in your fridge, you can check it!” they enthusiastically tell me.

You mean…so that I no longer have to use my memory?

What do you think happens to a mind that’s no longer used?

Does anyone remember the days you could purchase a fridge and didn’t have to:

* turn on Wi-Fi
* Visit a Website to create an account
* Create a password
* Answer a dozen questions
* Choose a bunch of “options” for your appliance
* Download an App
* Opt out of App Notifications
* Opt out of Newsletters
* E-sign Warranties
* Wait, before you E-Sign the warranties you need to create an account with our E-Sign provider

just to operate a fridge?

All that was required was this:

“Open fridge.
Take food.
Close fridge”.

But it makes life easier!

Most successful people always opt for more simplicity because they are already giving a lot of attention to more important things than an appliance manufacturer.

“You’ve become kind of anti-technology Fred” someone remarked.

How so?

Technology is useful when it provides CHOICE. The choice to switch it on or off.

The current trend is to deprive you of the choice to switch it off. Anything that can’t be switched on or off by you becomes a potential nuisance.

My definition of self-empowerment is your ability to switch the thoughts, habits and activities in your life on or off.

The inability to switch off your appliances or gadgets may seem like a small thing, but the further people drift away from their essence, the more things will be chosen for them.

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