When we were hunter-gatherers, we needed to be wired to obsessively focus on and desire things like finding food and finding fresh sources of water.
We needed to desire those things intensely and feel a huge burst of pleasure when we found them, because we needed those feelings for motivation to do the work to keep ourselves alive.
We’d obsess over the taste of berries or, if we were really lucky, meat, and the taste of fresh water… mmmm.
Yet, when we have those things, we swallow them down quickly, feel full for a bit, and then they’re forgotten. Soon, we’re craving another fleeting pleasure.
That phenomenon of strong temptation, leading to a fleeting pleasure, leading to the pleasure quickly vanishing, leading to a desire to find that pleasure again as an endless cycle hasn’t gone away, as almost everyone knows.
We all do it, with the foods we crave, the little splurges we give ourselves, and so on.
This is why so many stores these days have a coffee shop right at the entrance, selling overpriced coffee-flavoured beverages and pumping out an attractive aroma.
Those places know that a fair number of people on their way into the store are seeking a little treat for themselves and so those shops hijack that normal cycle of pleasure seeking that all of our brains go through and use it to extract money straight from our wallets.