Buddha, Freakonomics, and the Placebo Effect on Homemade Beauty
Buddhist prayer beads outside a stupa in Crestone, CO.
How often have you found yourself pondering the tie between Buddha, Freakonomics, conventional wisdom and homemade beauty?
A lot, right? Well, if you’re me. These thoughts have been nagging me for weeks, and I finally had to share them.
However, due to my discombobulated emotional state at the moment, I’m not sure it makes sense. Please, for the love of sanity, let me know at the bottom if it makes sense to you.
The internet will thank you for it later.
Buddha and Beliefs on Beauty
Quite some time ago, a guy named Buddha said something like this:
“Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.“
It seems Buddha beat me to it – telling you all that unless something feels true to you after contemplation and reasoning, you shouldn’t just blindly take anyone’s word for it. And, yes, that includes mine.
Better, even, than just feeling something is true, you should test out ideas, theories, beliefs – and homemade beauty recipes, even – for yourself. If you find something works for you through direct experience, then you can morph that belief into personal truth.
I’m dancing around the purpose here, and while I’ve always had some pretty smooth salsa moves, I feel you’ll be more entertained by the cold, hard fact that:
Not everything works for everybody. In homemade beauty and in life.
However – things are working now for people that may have never worked before.
I’m blaming the internet.
Freakonomic Homemade Beauty
I finally read Freakonomics a couple of weeks ago, and there was one passage that turned on eight different lightbulbs. It had to do with conventional wisdom and quoted John Kenneth Galbraith as stating that conventional wisdom has everything to do with equating “truth with convenience.”
Conventional wisdom is as slippery as a kitten covered in coconut oil (and I should know). It morphs and changes throughout history, based on what’s “convenient” at the time.
Conventional wisdom back in 1700 told us that if we let a doctor cut us open and drain our blood, sickness would be completely gone. Conventional wisdom today tells us that if we let a doctor prescribe us a medication, our lives will be “better” because of it.
Conventional wisdom in beauty and household products tells us that if it’s on a store shelf, it probably works. And if it probably works, it’s okay use it.
Whatever’s the most convenient.
And the thing is, because we believe it, it feels like truth. Because we believe it, it works to some degree.
But is current conventional wisdom the best choice we have to make? Is it really going to help us in the long run?
And, even better, will conventional wisdom exist in 10 years?
If it doesn’t, I blame the internet.
The Placebo Effect on Beauty
This is the lightbulb that really went off after reading Freakonomics: The placebo effect has to tie into conventional wisdom somewhere.
In a nutshell, the placebo effect is what happens when you believe enough in the power of something (be it a sugar pill, a daily affirmation, or an expensive night cream) that you, and your body, make it work. It’s stumped science for years and years. It’s pretty powerful stuff.
Some studies have shown that the placebo effect (when tested with sugar pills vs. prescription medication) is at least 60% effective. That means science has been able to prove that up to 60% of the time, a person can believe themselves into getting well. With no outward help whatsoever. Dr. Herbert Benson of Harvard stated that number may be as high as 90%, with all things considered.
So the more we believe in the ability of what we’re using, the better it works.
The more we believe that carrot juice is going to clear our acne, the more it does.
But is it the carrot juice? Or is it our belief that’s causing the change?
I honestly don’t know.
But if the carrot juice starts working, you might blame the internet.
Why Are You Blaming the Internet?
Do you remember learning in school about Native Americans? Do a search on Google about Native Americans today, and you’ll see a much different story than the “heathen, blood-thirsty” tales we were told in school.
The myriad truths in any historical situation will blow your mind.
Until recently, humans haven’t had access to this kind of information – this mind-altering chaos of personal beliefs. Stories are now told, loudly, by the victors and the losers. We get to choose which truths we want to believe now.
And we get to apply them to our lives on a daily basis.
This rings as true for our belief systems as it does for the products we use in our homes.
For the first time in a long time, we have access to infinite information from which we get to choose our beliefs.
But those beliefs can only become truths if we live them.
What All This Has To Do With Homemade Beauty
You may have picked up on my gist here, smart beauties, but what I’m saying is this: While conventional wisdom may be undeniably true in many cases, it is your belief in some things that causes their effectiveness.
And you’re more likely to connect truth to something convenient or comforting.
Moreover, you can choose your beliefs based on some really overwhelming information these days.
But the only way you’re going to find your truths is by testing your beliefs – with an open mind and a happy heart.
And what does this have to do with homemade beauty?
Start putting food on your face.
You’ll see what I mean.
(And you can blame the internet when it works.)