Psychology/explanation behind this reddit post

I stumbled upon this and read it and was like, “holy crap, that is so true.”

But first: In public, I can come across as laid back and even apathetic, but inside I’m pretty wired about being around people … always get the feeling I’m being judged, kind of feel people are looking at me, etc. etc. … typical social nervousness (probably not full blown SAD anymore, though looking back I think I had it).

Anyway, here’s the text from the post:

After I read it, I got to thinking that in fact, when I’ve been in public eating an apple, those are probably the times I have been loosest, my guards were down and so forth. I imagine this extends to others. Now, it doesn’t happen just by eating – but only when I’m eating an apple.

And I got to thinking … why is that? I theorize it is a multitude of factors:

  1. Eating an apple is not a graceful act. As the piece says, you’re just chomping into it. The gracelessness of the consumption of the apple translates into briefly losing the full body/mind pretenses we normally possess. There is no pretense in eating an apple == there is no pretense in our whole persons while eating an apple.

  2. We are so focused on eating the apple that we don’t have time to think about how the rest of us is acting. And since it’s an uncomplicated piece of food, unlike a hamburger or a hot dog, we don’t have to worry about making a mess (ketchup on my shirt, how embarrassing!), or dropping a french fry (what an inconvenience!) or anything like that.

  3. The chomping action of eating an apple seems carnal. Like you’re attacking it. Just as a matter of carnal survival instinct, you can’t have the give-a-fuckedness you normally possess, and the carnality of apple consumption triggers that instinct. I guess we’d be the same way if we were walking down the street eating a raw steak.

Dunno. One bit of psychology I suspect is active would be confirmation bias - having read the post, you may experience a tendency to revise, reinterpret or filter your past experiences of eating an apple to fit the story - and forget about the time when you were eating an apple and trod in dog shit.

That is to say, before we try to explain the phenomenon of eating an apple, we should first determine that there really is such a phenomenon.

I thought confirmation bias, too, but then I thought that confirmation bias seems to be the go-to phenomenon to dismiss things, so I didn’t mention it.

Cocky guys eating apples is a movie meme.

At least you didn’t compare it to eating an orange.

I like to slice an apple and consume the slices. Why? Because I give a fuck, goddammit.:mad:

If there’s any effect here at all, I expect that it probably applies to all food, not just apples.

The tone of the reddit post is so typical of college humor websites.
I’m not convinced of anything from the post, except the guy is a slacker.

Apples have diddly to do with this. Walk down the street sipping a soda. Same mental reaction. Walk down the street tossing a tennis ball from hand to hand. Same mental reaction. Walk down the street silently repeating the Gettysburg address or a Shakespeare sonnet. Same mental reaction.

The whole point is that normally when you’re walking around your (the OP’s) mind is totally consumed by self-conscious social anxiety. You’re totally stuck in that loop. It may be mostly unconscious, and you think you’re thinking about something else. But that’s not what’s really going on.

Anything else you can think about will break that loop. Anything.

Something more physical and more elemental will be more effective just because their physicality helps your mental discipline. It’s easier to unconsciously stop the Shakespeare & switch back to your anxiety tape than it is to stop eating the half eaten apple.

Something else you will notice: The quality of your thinking goes to hell if you’re carrying something. Try composing an argument, doing simple arithmetic, or remembering a list of things while carrying something in one or two hands. You’ll be amazed at how much stupider you are.

If you need 4 things at the grocery store you’re much more likely to forget one if you just try to carry & juggle them all while shopping versus if you put them in a hand basket versus if you put them in a push cart you can let go of.

Why? Your mind has a very limited short-term storage AKA “working memory.” The act of carrying things consumes some of those very few slots.

Fiddling with an apple or anything else helps disrupt working memory & helps bring anxiety tapes to a halt.

That’s because you don’t remember all the times you used something other than confirmation bias to dismiss things :slight_smile:

Even before I read this I thought of a scene in Saving Private Ryan.


US team tensely observes family cowering from sniper; rough and ready US soldier is distracted, casually finds an apple and chomps it; same soldier next disobeys order not to advance, is shot down (lack of discipline foretold by apple business)

The only translation of “not give a fuck” that I’m familiar with is “not care”. And I’m not on board with the unexpalined-but-implied understanding of why the fuck I would want to not care.

Not care about what?

I’ve spent most of my life being told I should not care, that I should just accept shit as inevitable. The unexplained-but-implied sense of freedom or self-determination implied by feeling like a “boss” or a “badass” doesn’t have jack shit to do with just accepting shit.

Is he maybe talking about not caring about what other people think? Bloody fucking hell, I don’t need to eat a goddam apple to get there!

I think this is better suited to IMHO than GQ.

Colibri
General Questions Moderator

“Giving zero fucks” is an expression debuting–on the Internet at least–a few years ago.

It is easier to remember, for some, than sprezzatura. http://grammar.about.com/od/rs/g/sprezzatura.htm

When I eat an apple, I worry about getting my hands all sticky with the juices and worry about how loud my crunching is. Apples make me self-conscious. I’m not kidding either. :frowning:

Sometimes we focus on something good and forget about our troubles. Is this really difficult to understand?

Looks like somebody needs a red delicious.

Or an onion.

The Reddit poster talks about not giving a fuck but by my count he gave 19 of them.

I always feel like that damn snake is judging me. And then I start distinguishing good and evil which is the exact opposite of not giving a fuck.