Diccussion: The Truth About Relativityby Ariely

In a€œThe Truth About Relativity,a€� Ariely makes the point that humans are wired to make comparisons, and that choices and situations are all evaluated in relative terms, as compared to something else. (As an example close to home for many of us, he cites a classic quote from the American journalist H.L. Mencken, who noted that a mana€™s satisfaction with his salary depends on whether he makes more than his wifea€™s sistera€™s husband.) Clearly, such biases in our thinking can lead to envy, and fuel an a€œarms racea€� to compete for more salary, more status, more things, relative to our neighbors. Ariely offers a couple of suggestions to help us break out of the trap of thinking about our options and situations in relative terms (e.g., control the a€œcirclesa€� around us; change our focus from narrow to broad). For this discussion, offer an example or two from your own situation for which following Arielya€™s advice could help you escape from the trap throughout the rest of the semester.