Day 301: Organic Food Makes You Mean

Shoppers who buy organic food are less likely to be kind and help other people.
Organic food makes people feel more secure about their own morals and leads them to judge behaviour more harshly, according to a new study from the U.S.
However, people who eat comfort food, such as chocolate, tend to be more social and kinder.
The study was carried out at Loyola University in New Orleans, and saw 62 students split into three teams.
The first group of students was given a packet of images of organic apples, spinach, tomatoes and carrot with organic labels. The second group looked at images of ice cream, cookies, chocolate and brownies, while the third tranche viewed pictures of oatmeal, rice, mustard and beans.
Next, all the students were given details of six moral scenarios ranging from a politician taking bribes to a student stealing books from a library.
When they thought the study had finished, the students were told that a professor in another department was looking for volunteers willing to spare 30 minutes without any reward.
The students who were exposed to organic fruit and vegetables agreed to spare an average 13 minutes to help the professor.
However, the students who saw the comfort food were happy to set aside 25 minutes compared with 20 minutes from those in the third group, which looked at oatmeal and rice.
Dr Kendall Eskine and colleagues, who wrote the paper 'Wholesome Foods and Wholesome Morals?' in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, said that people were more willing to help after eating something sweet.
In contrast, those that taste something disgusting had tougher moral judgments.
The psychologists wrote: 'The possibility is that those who simply purchase organic products will be less likely to engage in other meaningful acts of environmental protection.
'Although organic products are indubitably environmentally sound and ethical choices, perhaps milder, more subtle advertisements could help promote the beneficial qualities of these products without inadvertently inducing moral licensing in its consumers.' - Mail Online


This may be the most amusing thing I have read all week. Ok, yes, sure, I don't actually read many amusing articles what with the world being a terrible place and with us being evil hell creatures.

So, is this not one step in the direction of proving that our entire charity and moral system is based on self gratification instead of any real desire or intent to help others? The whole problem with the way we see and then do acts of charity is that the focus is not so much on developing real solutions, but rather on assuaging our own guilt by doing something that allows us to think and feel like we are "doing something" when we are in fact, not.

It is quite interesting that our moral reasoning manifests in such a way, that if we are already "doing one good thing" (buying organic), then we have "done enough" for the world and should not feel the need to contribute or sacrifice any more of our time, resources or skills to society. It is this reasoning which, now appearing to be so obvious, causes the apathy and inaction when it comes to really making this life and this planet a better and more pleasant experience for all.

Unfortunately, all we care about is ourselves and our own souls. I wonder, if there was a god (the Christian god, for argument's sake), assuming this god was merciful and benevolent and really did have some kind of plan for us (which for some reason warrants poverty and other such horrors to exist), would those of us who bought organic food as our penance and restitution for the state of the world - and nothing else - would god allow us into heaven? My reasoning being that when we buy organic food, we completely feel as if we have done all that there is within our power to do to improve upon the world, and therefore do not bother even trying to do anything else - would god agree in our assessment of ourselves as "good and noble people"?


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