Maximum Juuling

If you’re going for “maximum”, you’ll eventually have to make trade-offs you’re not proud of. You’ll delude yourself into thinking you’re behaving ethically, repressing your true intentions, as you create yet more suffering in the world.

Example 1: The CEO of Juul, who pretended his products were for adults trying to quit cigarettes as a new generation became addicted to nicotine. Teenagers have helped make Juul worth $38 billion, as tobacco giants start buying stakes in the company.

Example 2: A college recruiting scandal that occurs because coaches tried to maximize winning, parents tried to maximize opportunity, or admissions officers tried to maximize status.

Example 3: Any company that requires you to opt-out of their services after a free trial–rather than asking you to opt-in if you like it–in order to maximize number of users.

Example 4: The Instagram celebrity who posts “Thirst Traps” for maximum attention, exploiting viewers’ real thirst for human intimacy.

Example 5: The Silicon Valley engineer who spends his days finding more ways to addict you to your smartphone in order to give profit to the company’s shareholders.

I could go on ad nauseam, but while it’s clear to me that we want rational, empathetic, thoughtful human beings, what we have is an epidemic of teenagers sucking on mango-flavored pacifiers.