Channel: Abdurraheem Green
Series: Abdurraheem Green - E-Reminders
File Size: 24.31MB
Episode Transcript ©
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Salam Alaikum brothers and sisters, welcome to another Euro reminder with me, your brother in Islam abdur-rahim. And today we are talking about loss. After two weeks of delay, we're talking about the strange phenomenon called anchoring. What on earth is that? Have you ever heard the expression? First impressions count? Well, this is really a lot to do with first impressions. And why first impressions can have a really extraordinary effect on our decision making ability. Now,
what exactly this has to do with Islam and being a Muslim and our relationship with a lot, we'll see, I'm not even sure myself. But the reason we're having these discussions is really so that we can come to a deeper understanding of who we are as human beings, what makes us think the way that we do what makes us tick, what things make us or causes us to make decisions that are not necessarily rational. We love to think that we're rational beings, we like to think that we are rational actors, we like to think that we do things based upon thinking it through most of us would agree that generally, that's the right way to go about stuff. And that's the right way to make
decisions in life. But actually, a lot of the time, we're not like that. A lot of the time, we're very emotional. And a lot of the time we rely upon these mental shortcuts, our brain has lots of these mental shortcuts, they're actually very useful. They help us generally to make quick decisions.
But they're not always the right ones. And sometimes they can actually get in the way. And that's what we've been talking about a lot. And all of this is what they call cognitive dissonance. It's the way that our it's patterns or ways in which our brain reaches or makes decisions for us that are not necessarily based upon the facts. And sometimes they can lead us far astray. So what is anchoring? This is really strange, right? Anchoring is really strange. And I've been trying to think and figure out about why do we have this particular form of cognitive dissonance? So I'll give you my thoughts on that in a bit. But let's first of all talk about what is anchoring. Anchoring is this
very strange phenomena, that the way we evaluate the way we evaluate something, the way that we
evaluate the worth of a particular thing
is influenced by
random pieces of information that precede that assessment. So okay, let me just give you an example. Right? There are some scientists who did an experiment about this. And what they did is they asked people to read the last three or four numbers of the social security number or their, whatever it is, they're whatever, you know, the ID number or something like that, right.
And then they asked them to make a estimation of the price of something.
And what they found was that the larger the number, the higher the number of their national, the security number they read out.
The, the larger or the more, they estimated the cost of that particular thing.
So do you get it like, it's just totally unconnected, there's no connection between your social security number and the value of a particular product. But as it happened, that if you know if a person's social security number was 003, they would evaluate the cost of that thing as being very low. But if the person's social security number was you know, 157, then they would estimate it to be a lot higher.
And yeah, so it's just a random piece.
Some information. Of course, it's not completely random in the sense that they're both numbers, both of things taking place here in numbers, but this is what is called anchoring is that very often we make assessments and we make judgments based on what seems to be random pieces of information. Now, obviously, look from the point of view of sometimes we are, it happens that we are trying to understand the value of something, and we may not really be sure how much of what that thing is worth, right.
And so, you know, like, I remember reading an example, someone was saying, for example, a chocolate truffle or something like that, like, what is the what is, you know, how much is the price of that chocolate truffle? I mean, you know, they could go anything from, you know, a small amount of money, a couple of pence to literally maybe, you know, 510 pounds or something ridiculous, like, it depends, right? But how do you estimate that? How do you, so our brain sometimes seems to search for some random pieces of information. Now, I was thinking that perhaps from the point of view of human beings living in a pre industrial age, where, for example,
you may have a whole group of animals, and you have to make a decision, because remember, what is happening here, why is the brain doing these things, the brain is doing these things to avoid
energy, that's it your brain because your brain takes a lot of energy. And the more you have to think about something, the more energy it takes. So your brain has developed these shortcuts to save you energy. And for most of human beings, for most of our history, energy calories, and what provides the energy calories is something that has actually been in short supply. So our brains are really, you know, built Subhanallah, to be efficient, to save energy, to help us make these quick decisions. And I suppose, in an environment where things are not so random, right? If you're living in an environment where maybe there are lots of animals, and from those animals, you have to choose,
which one is the one that you want to hunt, which one is the one that's going to give you the best nutrition or fruit, or something that you have to obtain, because that's really what it is the value of something, if you think of it in those terms, the value of something is really, ultimately in, in the most basic terms, it's it's energy that it's going to give us in terms of calories. It's the food potential, right? Or maybe the meeting potential, that's where it may be. But it's just interesting that we make we can make these decisions that based on something that is seemingly random. Now, why is this important? Well, I'll tell you why it's important. Because there are people
out there who know this.
And they use this information to exploit you. And to take advantage of you. And let me give you some examples. Where that is done. Anyone who knows about bargaining in a soup, for example, will often know that when you ask someone that price or something, they'll give you an inflated price. That's anchoring. That's what they're doing. They're actually taking advantage of this psychological or this, you know, this cognitive dissonance, they'll give you a high price. Why? Because your brain will immediately attach that price as being the value of it. And even though you know that that's not really the true value. It's still being anchored there. This is the same thing, you find it, you
go into a, you go into a toad store, you go and buy anything, and they'll say recommended retail price. And guess what the recommended retail price is way, way more than the actual price that you're buying it for. But the purpose of that is to make you think that you're getting a bargain. You're not really guessing a bargain bargain. You think you are, right, you think you've really made a good deal, right? But that they're just really deceiving you, because no one sells anything at the recommended retail price hardly ever, and the price that they're selling at is already a price that they're going to make profits on. Right. So the point being here is this is something that is
actually used to manipulate us. And you know, brothers and sisters
It is important to understand because no one
should be manipulated. No one should let themselves be manipulated. And I think as well, by the way, brothers and sisters,
we need to be very careful. Because as Muslims, and I'm just I'm just not saying as Muslims, I'm saying, as people who are trying to achieve the,
you know, the highest level of good character.
We need to be wary that we are not using these types of tricks in order to deceive people. Now, you could say that, well, it's not being deceptive. But in a sense it is. Right? If you're saying that the price of something and you're claiming that the price of something is other than what it is you're inflating that price in order to make people think that they are getting it for a particular bargain. I mean, unless you are really genuinely, genuinely doing that. This is a type of deception. And you know, the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam has warned us against that. In fact, you know, brothers and sisters, when we look at what the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam has taught us,
he actually said that the best of you are the ones who when they buy something, they give more than what they are asked for. And well, that when they sell something, they sell it for less than what the person is asking for. Now, I remember once I said this to a brother, and he was just laughing. And he said, Well, you know, who's ever going to make any money? No, the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam the Messenger of Allah is not saying this, for you to lose money, right? He's saying it. Just to illustrate that is, that's how the Muslim is like, obviously, really, what people should be doing is paying, asking a fair price for something. And they should be ready to pay a pair pay a
fair price for something. And if somewhere, if someone is asking you, or someone is selling something to you for a fair price, if you give them a little bit more, mashallah, that's part of good character. That's part of loving for your Muslim brother, loving for your Muslim sister what you love yourself. Can you imagine a world in where every where everybody behaved like that? Can you imagine a world where when you went to a shop, and you wanted to buy something, and you know, the price was like, so the shopkeepers, let's say, the price of something is five pounds, right? That's the price, right? And that's a reasonable price. No one's let's just say, no one's ripping anyone
off here. No one's deceiving anybody. That's the genuine price. But you know, he sells it for, you know, four pounds 50 Let's say he's still making a pound profit is meat still making a pound 50 profit, he's not losing. But he's happy, he's happy to sell it to you for less. And that when when you sell something, right, when you then when you go to buy it, you give them five pounds? 50.
Can you imagine mashallah, what a beautiful house. How nice it would be if people were like that, if people were actually enthusiastic, to give more and to take less. And this is the type of amazing good manners that the Prophet salallahu Alaihe. Salam
is encouraging us to have, right. And so rather than take advantage of people's weaknesses, and and a lot of this thing, there's this book that I do need to go through, because I think that in the context of all this stuff that I'm talking about, about cognitive dissonance is really important.
And maybe that's something else I will do. Because At last I've managed to sort of begin to sort my books out and get them back up on shelves. And I have anyway this this book I read years ago, called Brand washed. And it's a it's a book that is written by a marketeer a person whose expertise is in marketing, who basically wrote this book to expose all the secrets of how you are manipulated, in order to buy stuff at higher prices, to buy stuff that you don't really want, and basically to manipulate you and for you and he said, Well, you know, basically said he felt guilty about doing that. And he thought that the least he could do is let everybody know so at least when they see
happening to them, they can understand, and they can know what's going on. And that they can take some sort of precaution, or some type of measure against it. And I think, again, brothers and sisters, I want to go back to this point that, as Muslims, we should try to have the best type of character, we should try to develop within ourselves the best and the most noble characteristics. And in a world where,
you know, often it's dog eat dog, right? And a person is almost admired for their aggressive sort of, you know, selling behavior, and so on and so forth, right? Yet, we see that this is not really the mannerisms that a Muslim is supposed to have a wonder how many of us actually even really study these things and look into? How is a Muslim supposed to behave when they go shopping? How is the Muslim supposed to behave? As a business person? How is a Muslim supposed to behave as a trader? How is a Muslim supposed to behave as a merchant?
But actually, really, how do we do anything as Muslims without first studying and learning? What is pleasing to Allah and what is displeasing to a lot about that particular environment or that particular thing that we're doing? That's, that's what we should do. Because as Muslims, we're trying to get close to Allah in everything that we do.
Even business, and you know, this is why the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam, you know, he said that the status of the honest merchant is very high. He said, he's like, his status is like there with the prophets and the messengers.
Because why? Because it's really, really difficult.
It's really difficult for someone who is involved in business, to be honest.
Right? Write, it's actually quite a difficult thing to do, and not to be manipulative. And not to use these techniques of persuasion, in order to get people to buy stuff that probably they don't really need, or they don't really want or at prices that are actually inflated. You know, this is this is, you know, people, some people take pride in that, you know, you have, they have a saying, you know, he could sell, he could sell sand to a Bedouin, or he could sell ice to an Eskimo, you know? But Why would, why would you want to do that? Why would you want to sell something to someone who first still doesn't need it. Second, it may actually be be damaging or detrimental to them. But
unfortunately, we live in a world where we are being sold things that are really bad for us, that are actually killing us.
This is the craziness. This is how crazy the world has become. That there are companies and corporations in existence, who
exist by sending us stuff that is actually destroying us individually. And collectively. This is the world that we live in now. So brothers and sisters, I do think it is very important for us. And it may not seem it. But it is, I believe very important for us to be aware
of these things about ourselves, the ways in which our brains work and the ways in which our ways our brains don't work, right. Because amongst the things brothers and sisters, you have to be aware, right, is that
a lot does not love a person who is an oppressor. But Allah also does not love people who allow themselves to be oppressed.
Think about that. I mean, if you have the means and you have the capability to resist being oppressed and taken advantage of, then you should do that. Right. It's not something that is loved by a love that you allow people to mistreat you abuse you misguide you and take advantage of you.
And this is all the more reason brothers and sisters why we do need to study we do need to understand we do need to really be aware of how we think how we behave, why we do what we do, the different ways in which people can take advantage of us. So one of these things is this very, it's still to me, it's like very strange, this whole thing of anchoring and how those first
impressions, these seemingly totally random things can affect the decisions that we make in such a big way. You know, it'd be interesting brothers and sisters over the next week, why don't you see for yourself, right? If you can spot
any of these things taking place, can you see how someone is trying to manipulate you through this system of anchoring? How they may be trying to create a first impression that makes you think that old that's the way is so that you are taken advantage of, to buy something? At is what is actually inflated price or even to do something because it may not be? Yeah, it could be something else, oh, the terrible consequences that are going to happen if you don't take this medication.
Yeah, if you don't do this, and don't do that, create this horror story of what is happening. And all these terrible things are taking place and you know, things are closing down and no one can be seen and hospitals are fall and this and that is happening. You can imagine, yeah, creating this, this is anchoring, right? Creating this image of how terrible and bad everything is going to be. Why? Because it makes it look like the alternative, what is being offered to you, is just something so amazing. And but actually, when you look at it, it may not be that amazing at all.
In fact, it could be almost as bad as the very thing that you're claiming to be saved from.
But if you don't understand how your brain is being messed around with, if you don't understand how you're being manipulated, if you don't understand how the system in which we live is doing this constantly and consistently, you will be taken advantage of you will be misled. And you will harm yourself, and you will harm your family.
Knowledge brothers and sisters, as they say knowledge is power. Right. And this knowledge, I believe is very important. This is something that is being used, unfortunately, a lot of the time it's being used against us. Yes, sometimes it can be used for us. And it's very interesting. There's this whole ethical discussion going on about because they do this, for example, another example where anchoring takes place is when something is made.
You know, it's the default is the default,
like so for example, when you go on a form and you fill in a form, right, you have to opt out of something. So for example, if you don't want now in in UK, if you don't want your organs to be donated, right, if you don't want your organs to be used after you die, you have to opt out. Because automatically, it's presumed now that when you're dead, your organs can be used for the benefit of others. Right? If you don't want your body to be chopped up and used for spare parts for other people, you have to opt out of it. But this happens in all sorts of things like so now in forms in hospitals, and so on and so forth. If you don't opt out for certain things, then it's automatically
presumed that you're going to be allowed to do it. The problem is this is there is a whole question about how ethical This is. Because basically it is manipulating people, it's the same principle of anchoring. It's the same principle, you present to them these options, and just generate that is what lays the sort of baseline. And then so people think that everything else after that they'll judge it by that baseline that you present them. Do you understand now how anchoring is is working, right? So it's it happens in different ways. And in places that Subhanallah
you may not even imagine. I want to see if you can spot in the next week, how these things may be being used to manipulate you and to make you do stuff that may be you normally wouldn't want to do.
Or maybe it's been used in a good way. Maybe you can find some ways in which anchoring has been used psychologically, to get people to do stuff that you know what they normally they wouldn't do it, but they really should know. Anyway, there's a whole question about should we manipulate people like that at all? That's a very big question. Anyway, brothers and sisters, I hope you found this interesting. I
hope that at least I made some connection there with Islam Alhamdulillah. And yeah, until next week, brothers and sisters, take care. Keep thinking, keep looking, keep understanding. Think about who you are, why you are, what you do, why you do what you do. Because the more you know about yourself, the more you can be honest with yourself, the more you can know who you are. And I think at the end of the day, that's going to be easier for you to make pure, you know, to make decisions with pure intentions to do stuff purely for Allah subhanaw taala which is so important. A brothers and sisters I hope you enjoyed this episode. I definitely enjoy researching into it and talking to you about it.
Until next time, Salam aleikum wa rahmatullah