|Posted: January 12, 2012, 6:18 pm - IP Logged|
"To have a lottery ticket is to have a talisman of possible wealth that, when held and contemplated, brings immediately to mind the fantasy of wealth and makes it feel much more visceral. There is no equivalent talisman for the possibility of a wealthy aunt, and, hence, the fantasy is far weaker."
"The "fantasy aid" argument for purchasing a lottery ticket works in light of this very real gain in utiles by comparison to the far more passive fantasizing about one's wealthy aunt. It isn't hard to think of other examples of this "talisman effect" in fantasy and memory: physical books are relatively more expensive than ebooks (modulo Amazon's future-oriented pricing); letters from lovers call to mind more poignant memories than do emails or remembrances; people save chips that are otherwise useless from casinos; etc. It would seem to me that smart, rational people are no less susceptible to the very real utile-increasing effects of talismans. This is a reason to play the lottery: you hold the possibility of riches in your very hand. No hypothetical relatives offer the same pleasure."