martes, 2 de julio de 2013

Ruled by strangers

"Life connections"

Watercolor on paper, 1 May 2007

  A great mystery of life is why humans take wrong decisions, make mistakes or commit errors when actually they have been given the privilege of a gifted mind able to reason.

  2002 Nobel Prize winner on Economics Dr. Daniel Kahnemann is also a psychologist that has devoted a good part of his work to investigate how people take decisions. In his book "Thinking, Fast and Slow", he explains that most of our decisions are conditioned by past experiences or unconscious factors. He proposes 2 models of intelligence: System 1 is unconscious, fast and instinctive. It cannot be disconnected. On the contrary, System 2 is a reflexive, conscious and slow mode of intelligence, and becomes active only when strictly necessary, as it consumes much energy and chemical resources.


  Now, all animals have a more or less complex "System 1" type of intelligenceWe humans are the only known species privileged with a "System 2" intelligence in addition. This powerful combination has changed ourselves and the face of the world.

  Shouldn't be this a perfect combination? Why then there is more conflict than agreement between System 1 and System 2? Why are we suffering it? 

  Dr. Kahnemann probably tapped the answer when he said recently in an interview that "...Without suspecting, you are being ruled to a good extent by a stranger", referring to System 1.

  "System 2" is us. We find ourselves in our conscious mind, while we see System 1 as a dangerous nuisance. "I think, therefore I am". Being an old story, we haven't moved much since Descartes...

  In my opinion, the only way to recover the way to happiness and get rid of Error is to practice a "System 3" type of intelligence that harmonized both System 1 and System 2: Feeling and reasoning, emotions and reflection, working together for Happiness as the prime objective, and not for Progress. However, System 2 in most people would prefer to die (or kill) before losing its hegemony and become just a wise instrument, instead of a master.

 We have a big problem in front of us that we don't see, but we need to solve. Art can contribute tremendously to that goal, as it takes part both on System 1 and System 2.

(Next entry: Toxic intelligence)

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