“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Mark Twain
“I got hacked!!!” We say this when our email begins sending our mailing list to all of our friends and contacts, to include suspiciously, ourselves, with a loaded link filled with unwelcome vermin.
Our vigilance is required to ’not’ click on that attachment and begin to resolve our compromised status. But how did we get compromised?
Did our rationality not protect us or was ‘rationality’ the problem. Perhaps the ’trust’ we had with certain sites did not have enough rationality from us?
Whether we are in the virtual cyber world or the virtual inner world of our minds, vigilance and questioning and rethinking, may be the order of the new day.
“People mistakenly assume that their thinking is done by their head; it is actually done by the heart which first dictates the conclusion, then commands the head to provide the reasoning that will defend it.” ― Anthony de Mello
“Thinking Fast and Slow” by Daniel Kahneman, a psychologist that sports a Nobel prize in economics, lays out a challenge to how we think we think. Given that we default to some type of reactive thinking, it is good to see new research on human irrationality and cognitive biases.
Traditional economics relies too heavily on the idea that we will respond like a monolith to the utilization of opportunity. There is no nuance here. Pure rationality is challenged by Kahneman with “System 1” and “System 2” decision-making capacities, that validate the viability of both approaches.
“System 1” represents an intuitive, automatic, effortless and unconscious mode that produces a rough assessment. While “System 2” mode, produces reasoned choices, rational belief systems, and task-intensive effort that fatigues the mind.
Using the Kahneman paradigm of decision-making in the “planning fallacy” of a kitchen remodel, we can begin to see the biases we engender when we rely too heavily on one or the other system. On the average in 2002, a kitchen remodel was estimated at the outset to cost $20,000 less than actual final figure (closer to $40,000). Would we have opted for the decision if we had the ‘real’ figures ahead and in front of us?
Rory Sutherland is a marketing guru who understands the Kahneman model. He states, with the example of a train, that “System 2” is too concerned with numerical values of a train i.e. speed, distance, length of journey, and the use of rolling stock. Given dissatisfaction with the time the train travels over a distance, customers may want to shorten the journey. “ System 1”, a psychologist’s point of view, would maybe increase the time but clearly increase the comfort by adding WiFi and other comforts to make the journey more hospitable. Sutherland states that making faster trains that are uncomfortable is not the right solution.
All this is to say that there are some inherent biases in the mind, that unless seen, cannot be acknowledged. Armed with how the mechanics of the mind work, we can not so easily, get trapped and hacked by the mind. Hacking by the mind not only compromises our viability of more idyllic decisions in our physical life but even more significant, our interface with our personal happiness and experience. Hacking, in a bigger way, means that we have not only unseen biases, but more importantly, have allowed the mind unprecedented access.
We believe the byproducts of the mind, to wit, thoughts, ideas, feelings, beliefs, and identity. The ‘hacking’ is often not even being detected by us, even when we are confronted with solid information. The ‘hack’ has used the mind to become both the judge and advocate. We have lost our perspective to whom we really Are, vis-a-vis the mind. The connection is compromised.
We think we have to try to be aware. But that activity of ‘try’ reduces awareness. It is not the process to use when we are Awareness already. The process is more like recognizing what Is already Present in the immediacy of this Moment. ’Trying’ is the ‘doing’ of the mind.
The thoughts we engender are really not any more important than aircraft flying overhead or a dog barking. But ‘we’ believe and decide that they are important. The mind is noisy. Silence is not. Looking for ‘better’ noise is missing the infinite backdrop of Silence. Silence does not allow the running and gaming of the noisy mind when we ‘ground’ with Silence. Access to the tail end of the mind avails us of the closer proximity and opportunity of Being.
The mind is waiting for change. It is dissatisfied with the Moment. The mind needs time to continue to exist. The mind abuses time by waiting for tomorrow.
Pushing against and struggling with mind is contra-indicated. Like a tea cup, when the water is still, we can see to the bottom without straining. We have infinite space to ‘let’ the mind go without entertaining it. See the space that is always there. Putting more awareness in the space, choosing it, denies the mind what it is looking for in reaction.
The mandate of Consciousness is to be like a feather, not pushing, but always there. Consciousness meets itself in the world if we allow It. But the mind has hacked us much like an over-reliance on “System 2”. Having an accurate self-assessment that uses the benefits of Silence and Stillness can bring the balance back from the push, struggle, and noise of the mind. See the unfiltered calm water of who we really Are.