Counselling in Wokingham – The Last Biscuit

Paul Cockayne – 07791

Welcome to my counselling blog. You can find more information about me by clicking one of the links at the top of this page

I think I may have made my fortune by inventing a personality test! It’s very simple, you can do this test yourself at home and it costs nothing! Here’s what you have to do:-

  1. Go to the biscuit tin and open it
  2. Eat all the biscuits except one
  3. Forget you have done this
  4. Decide that you fancy a biscuit
  5. Go to the biscuit tin and open it

biscuit4Oh dear! There’s only one biscuit left! What will you do?

I was talking to a client of mine about this hypothetical situation and she said that what she would do is to leave the biscuit in the tin. “It would not occur to me to eat it.” she said. “It would be as if there were no biscuits in the tin.”

For her, then, her desire for a biscuit would not count because – possibly – someone else might want this biscuit. Their need would be greater than hers, in her mind, even though she had no idea whether someone else wanted the biscuit or not.

I have tried this test on a few people and found a variety of reactions. At the other end of the scale from my client, one reaction was that of glee.  “There’s only one biscuit in the tin AND I’M GOING TO EAT IT!” This represented a victory – it made the eating of the biscuit all the more special, and it linked with the fact that, for this person as a child, to eat the last biscuit would not have been allowed, so that it also felt a bit naughty.

biscuit2In between these two reactions lie a variety of attempts to find a compromise. Some would ask others in the household if they wished to lay claim to the last biscuit. Some would be selective – “I’d ask my wife but not my children”. Others would leave the biscuit in the tin but return later “If nobody had eaten it by six o’clock I’d eat it”. And some would break the biscuit in half – or break a half biscuit into two quarters – or just take a small piece of the biscuit and leave the rest. Of course, at some point the biscuit-breakers could be faced with a dilemma – is the one-sixteenth of a biscuit still worth breaking in half? Shall I eat it? Shall I leave it?

A biscuit is more than a biscuit, of course. One of my friends said that she would be struck, on finding that there was only one biscuit left, by a feeling of failure and guilt. She was, she told me, responsible for making sure that the cupboards were stocked with sufficient food and if there was only one biscuit in the house she would have let everyone else down. And I suppose the other side of this might be that her partner, faced with the last biscuit, might have felt let down, disappointed, perhaps even (somewhat irrationally) unloved.

biscuit1So there we have it – The Last Biscuit Test. Sadly it is not going to make my fortune as the subject is already much discussed on the internet as here – and there’s even a Last Biscuit game here

What a disappointment – nothing’s new – and now I really want a biscuit. Where’s that tin….?

About Paul Cockayne

Counsellor, musician, iPhone developer, games-player, cheese-lover....
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