“When Downton Abbey first appeared in 2010, a British newspaper interviewed a nonagenarian aristocrat to ask her whether it faithfully reproduced her memories of the pre-war British country house. ‘Well there’s one thing it doesn’t tell you,’ she explained. ‘Back then, the servants literally stank.’ And in the early twentieth century, when it was proposed to install baths for the undergraduates in one Cambridge college, an elderly fellow was having none of this: ‘What do the undergraduates need baths for? The term only lasts eight weeks.
What had caused this spectacular change in behaviour was complicated, but it was driven as much by unconscious status-seeking as by a conscious effort to improve life expectancy. Soap was sold on its ability to increase your attractiveness more than on its hygienic powers, and while it contained many chemicals that improved hygiene, it is worth remembering that it was also scented to make it attractive – supporting the unconscious promise of the advertising rather than the rational value of the product. The scent was not to make the soap effective, but to make it attractive to consumers.If we are in denial about unconscious motivation, we forget to scent the soap. If we adopt a narrow view of human motivation, we regard any suggestion of scenting the soap as silly. But, like petals on a flower, it is the apparently pointless thing that makes the system work.”
Excerto de: Rory Sutherland. “Alchemy”. Apple Books.