I think therefore I am


Of late most of the Studies in behavioral economics seem to stress that thinking isn’t all that useful, that its something we’re sort of handicapped in or at least aren’t as awesome at as we’d like to believe. In reality though,  however irrational we are, we are a species that has learnt to do something truly amazing(yes – I mean to think), and for that reason we should never belittle it; we should practice it to the best of our ability and rather than looking at our fallacies as fallacies per se, we should see them as what uniquely make us, us.
Of course in order to really appreciate why this is important, it’s useful to have a slight handle on the literature that exists on the topic. There are the light reading type of books like (pop-economics perhaps?)Nudge, Freakonomics, Predictability of irrationality give us a hint, albeit very superficially, of the current ideas that are being tossed around and confirmed on some level. Some concepts they propagate are on how we are easily fooled by our own cognition and that we have a tendency to not realise that we’re getting more than we bargained for. There are more rigorous books such as Thinking fast and slow by the man who is considered the father of this science – Daniel Kahneman(and his comrade in many of his important studies – Amos Tversky).
In my eyes, inexperienced as they may be, all that we should really draw from these texts is that knowing them is an useful way to try to avoid falling prey to it. However considering the number of heuristics that we have evolved over time it’s nearly impossible to try to keep track of it all, unless you create an app for it!  And that is the crux of the problem really, in order to survive we have evolved loads of rules of thumb, like ‘ expensive is good quality’, ‘a good looking person is more likeable’, I pay more for my coffee at starbucks so that I can get the good stuff though what I don’t know is that what I’m paying a dollar extra for only costs a few cents more in reality(you pay more because you want to).
I feel like the existence of so many heuristics gives some credence to Lamarcks theory that we can pass on the actions that alter our mental state to our kids because the number of heuristics that exist now is far far greater than when there were when you needed to use a telegraph to transfer a message across the Atlantic, now you just need a lot of money in ur prepaid account! I suppose, in essence, that is the point of education.
We manage to somehow live life peacefully even in the presence of so much information thanks to the way we process it. And the very idea that we are capable of something so phenomenal is wonderful. That is what we should marvel at. However it’d take a lot of mental tinkering to manage it appropriately and thoroughly considering that this is just another heuristic(it’s rather recursive you see) that allowed us to focus on the things that could harm us.
Here’s to a better intelligence – cheers!

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