The Rarity Placebo Effect - (n.) that which transforms normal achievement into something unworthy.
Something is oddly wrong as you sit there, hearing praise for something you have been doing, for, I don’t know, maybe 15 years?
It’s expected that you would do whatever it is you normally do.
With expectations also comes a higher standard:
If you usually push in your chair after eating, it is still necessary to call you out for perhaps not transferring the left-over food on the table into soon-to-be refrigerated containers.
If you hang the decorations on the Christmas tree every year, it is still necessary to call you out for not hanging them in an optimal fashion. Too much clutter here! Not enough tree covered facing the window!
These are just some examples of the ‘rarity’ placebo effect. That is to say, none of these examples pertain to me personally, however, they do function to exemplify the title of this post.
What does apply to me is gift-giving. You know, thoughtfulness. That is not to say that gift-giving is equivalent to being thoughtful; Quite the opposite, actually.
Christmas is a trippy topic to converse about with regard to who celebrates it, especially in the American culture, so we won’t go there. However, when you post on Facebook a department-store looking tree with no less than the amount of presents that would be accorded to 1 per person in a moving New York City bus, for a family of less than 5, that doesn’t seem thoughtful, that seems illogical, but I digress.
Clearly, this example is a personal one. I have been gifting personally-relevant odds and ends to the members of my nuclear family since I became competent enough to understand that money can be exchanged for material products. So I suppose you could say I was in my grade-school years. I believe the 3rd or 4th grade is a safe guess.
Now, however, my older sibling has aspired to the gifting enterprise and it is no less than a rarity.
Please allow me to insert one of Robert Barone’s many exasperated expressions in one of my beloved, no-longer-airing shows, Everybody Loves Raymond.
It is as if the commonality of an action, no matter how illustrious said action is, has caused the luster to be tarnished.
You’d think it would just be a matter of taking the lift up to the 6th floor of the 5th Avenue Tiffanys & Co. only to have your tarnished silver laid out on a velvet-lined tray for a nice polish.
That is not the case with the rarity placebo effect.
The rarity placebo effect can be an individual (1-party) situation.
In this case, say that you have picked up more than a vocabulary’s worth of a language that you have never spoken or understood otherwise. You know that it took years of music listening, film viewing, and a complete and total subconscious surrender to the language to attain the comfort level you do now.
However, now language acquisition is not a rarity and why not pick up a Turkish-English dictionary and start learning now? The belief that in some months’ time I would be able to pick up something that took me more than 10 years’ time is placebo.
The rarity placebo effect can also be a 2-party situation.
Remember the situation that had incurred with my sibling and I over the presents we gave? The person for whom the action, such as the act of choosing out and giving a gift, is a rarity, will be regarded as an extremely caring, selfless, and matured person; someone who takes into account a person’s likings and as a result, develops knowledge of something on someone’s wishlist without having to ask. It’s odd that such rarity is symbolic of maturation since I had been carrying out the action, like I said before, since I was in grade school.
But then again, I was born 2 weeks late, (true story), and so I suppose my maturation process was, for the desire of wanting to play with my diction, premature.
The rarity placebo effect can’t apply to everything, can it?
What if someone’s presence is no longer rare?
See, this warrants no sense nor truth.
Perhaps this whole rarity placebo effect is placebo in itself.
Perhaps this is characteristic of someone who has a complex? I highly doubt anyone answering affirmatively to the 2nd question.
So I suppose it’s a matter of just letting the rarity placebo effect pass.
Continue to strive for the best because if and when you decide that achievement and/or responsibility is coming too often and is just not rare enough, there is nothing worse than a downfall.
And a downfall is what the people want, hence the rarity placebo effect.
It’s a competitive world out there, and I’m onto you placebo-users.