Whenever I think of something but can't think of what it was I was thinking of, I can't stop thinking until I think I'm thinking of it again. I think I think too much.
God judges men from the inside out; men judge men from the outside in. Perhaps to God, an extreme mental patient is doing quite well in going a month without murder, for he fought his chemical imbalance and succeeded; oppositely, perhaps the healthy, able and stable man who has never murdered in his life yet went a lifetime consciously, willingly never loving anyone but himself may then be subject to harsher judgment than the extreme mental patient. It might be so that God will stand for the weak and question the strong.
Question the answers, I repeated every class. Reevaluate your conclusions when the evidence changes.
I wanted that future officer to weigh decisions with a supple mind and to be comfortable with nuance and uncertainty.
Our life is just as long or short as our remembering: as rich as our imagining, as vibrant as our feeling, and as profound as our thinking.
Anger's like a battery that leaks acid right out of meAnd it starts from the heart 'til it reaches my outer me
It is usually unbearably painful to read a book by an author who knows way less than you do, unless the book is a novel.
The obvious cure for the tragic shortcomings of human intuition in a high-tech world is education. And this offers priorities for educational policy: to provide students with the cognitive tools that are most important for grasping the modern world and that are most unlike the cognitive tools they are born with. The perilous fallacies we have seen in this chapter, for example, would give high priority to economics, evolutionary biology, and probability and statistics in any high school or college curriculum. Unfortunately, most curricula have barely changed since medieval times, and are barely changeable because no one wants to be the philistine who seems to be saying that it is unimportant to learn a foreign language, or English literature, or trigonometry, or the classics. But no matter how valuable a subject may be, there are only twenty-four hours in a day, and a decision to teach one subject is also a decision not to teach another one. The question is not whether trigonometry is important, but whether it is more important than statistics; not whether an educated person should know the classics, but whether it is more important for an educated person to know the classics than to know elementary economics. In a world whose complexities are constantly challenging our intuitions, these trade-offs cannot responsibly be avoided.
Also, even if technocrats provide reasonable estimates of a risk, which itself is an iffy enterprise, they cannot dictate what level of risk people ought to accept. People might object to a nuclear power plant that has a minuscule risk of a meltdown not because they overestimate the risk, but because they feel that the cost of a catastrophe, no matter how remote, are too dreadful. And of course any of these trade-offs may be unacceptable if people perceive that the benefits would go to the wealthy and powerful while they themselves absorb the risks. Nonetheless, understanding the difference between our best science and our ancient ways of thinking can only make our individual and collective decisions better informed. It can help scientists and journalists explain a new technology in the face of the most common misunderstandings. And it can help all of us understand the technology so that we can accept or reject it on grounds that we can justify to ourselves and to others.
When people have different ideas about which of these four modes of interacting applies to a current relationship, the result can range from blank incomprehension to acute discomfort or outright hostility. Think abut a dinner guest offering to pay the host for her meal, a person barking an order to a friend, or an employee helping himself to a shrimp off the boss' plate. Misunderstandings in which one person thinks of a transaction in terms of Equality Matching and another thinks in terms of Market Pricing are even more pervasive and can be even more dangerous. They tap into very different psychologies, one of them intuitive and universal, the other rarefied and learned, and clashes between them have been common in economic history.
The concern of your brain is not to see the actual nature of reality, but to represent the reality to you in such a way that suits your needs.
Physiology and Psychology are not at all separate from each other. Rather they are deeply intertwined.
The moment you establish a line of communication between two points, you subtly change both. That is also true for the way the brain is affected by the mind.
To be naive is to be unaware of how stupid and cruel other people are; but, by some definitions, ignorance is nearly the opposite of naivety in being a kind of cynicism, in being unaware of their intelligence and humanity. It seems to be a normal although unfortunate case that the great many of us consciously abhor ignorance in others yet subconsciously practice it ourselves: as naivety is apparent and well-known to inflict its damage upon oneself; whereas the alternative and the easier, ignorance, its damage upon others.
And if she liked and trusted the person who asked, she would add that yes, it was kind of a lot to deal with: her outward affect was bright and capable, and that was no illusion, but equally real was the yawning pit of exhaustion inside her. She just felt so tired sometimes. And because of everything her parents asked of her, she was ashamed of being tired. She could not, would not let the pit swallow her up, as much as she sometimes wanted it to.
Needless to say, that meant that the Braekbills student body was quite the psychological menagerie. Carrying that much onboard cognitive processing power had a way of distorting your personality. And to actually want to work that hard, you had to be at least a little bit screwed up.
Be careful not to appear obsessively intellectual. When intelligence fills up, it overflows a parody.
Lingering, bottled-up anger never reveals the 'true colors' of an individual. It, on the contrary, becomes all mixed up, rotten, confused, forms a highly combustible, chemical compound then explodes as something foreign, something very different than one's natural self.
One way or another we are all biased, but still we have the modern cortical capacity to choose whether or not to let the harmful biases dictate our behavior.
The human brain always concocts biases to aid in the construction of a coherent mental life, exclusively suitable for an individual’s personal needs.
The causal, abstract, binary, holistic, and reductionist functions of the human brain all help you to process the enormous amount of information coming into our brain from the external world every day.
Much like humans, opinions come in all shapes and forms, but in the end, they are just what they are; and may yet still be categorized in nature. The first you might say is the Indoctrinal, which is, of course, dictated by community and necessity, by the human need for acceptance; secondly, there is the Personal, and this is often dictated by individuality, by the yearning to seem interesting and intelligent, or free, or special; and lastly comes the Emotional. This is most commonly dictated by circumstance and bitterness and excitement. However, rarely do we find the case in which any of these are dictated by reason in the pure state: it is by this we see that at the core of a number of false opinions lies not always misinformation but quite often some issue of the human self.
I treat my thoughts like an old person treats their valuables: I cannot for the life of me proceed to throwing them out.
You think you're losing your mind, but do keep in mind, as long as you may, that the ability to go on thinking such a thing means it's not all gone.
Evolution endowed us with intuition only for those aspects of physics that had survival value for our distant ancestors, such as the parabolic orbits of flying rocks (explaining our penchant for baseball). A cavewoman thinking too hard about what matter is ultimately made of might fail to notice the tiger sneaking up behind and get cleaned right out of the gene pool. Darwin’s theory thus makes the testable prediction that whenever we use technology to glimpse reality beyond the human scale, our evolved intuition should break down. We’ve repeatedly tested this prediction, and the results overwhelmingly support Darwin. At high speeds, Einstein realized that time slows down, and curmudgeons on the Swedish Nobel committee found this so weird that they refused to give him the Nobel Prize for his relativity theory. At low temperatures, liquid helium can flow upward. At high temperatures, colliding particles change identity; to me, an electron colliding with a positron and turning into a Z-boson feels about as intuitive as two colliding cars turning into a cruise ship. On microscopic scales, particles schizophrenically appear in two places at once, leading to the quantum conundrums mentioned above. On astronomically large scales… weirdness strikes again: if you intuitively understand all aspects of black holes [then you] should immediately put down this book and publish your findings before someone scoops you on the Nobel Prize for quantum gravity… [also,] the leading theory for what happened [in the early universe] suggests that space isn’t merely really really big, but actually infinite, containing infinitely many exact copies of you, and even more near-copies living out every possible variant of your life in two different types of parallel universes.
Our view of the mind not only shapes our view of ourselves; less obviously, it also shapes our view of that part of our experience we conceive of as dealing with the external world. As we learn about the structure of this aspect of experience, we find that the world presents itself to consciousness only after being mediated to lesser or (more often) greater extents by mental structures and processes.
Travelling, whether in the mental or the physical world, is a joy, and it is good to know that, in the mental world at least, there are vast countries still very imperfectly explored
In every walk of life, you do have the freedom to choose, but that freedom is based on the perception of the world and yourself which you have gained until that moment of life.
When good people consider you the bad guy, you develop a heart to help the bad ones. You actually understand them.
The inconsistencies that haunt our relationships with animals also result from the quirks of human cognition. We like to think of ourselves as the rational species. But research in cognitive psychology and behavioral economics shows that our thinking and behavior are often completely illogical. In one study, for example, groups of people were independently asked how much they would give to prevent waterfowl from being killed in polluted oil ponds. On average, the subjects said they would pay $80 to save 2,000 birds, $78 to save 20,000 birds, and $88 to save 200,000 birds. Sometimes animals act more logically than people do; a recent study found that when picking a new home, the decisions of ant colonies were more rational than those of human house-hunters. What is it about human psychology that makes it so difficult for us to think consistently about animals? The paradoxes that plague our interactions with other species are due to the fact that much of our thinking is a mire of instinct, learning, language, culture, intuition, and our reliance on mental shortcuts.
What then am I? In the end, all we have is simply what we find, and what we can usefully say to each other about what we find is all that needs to be said. And perhaps, in the end, it's best just to sit quietly and let go of that thought too.
One either cares what others think about him, or cares what others think he thinks about them. If you want to find someone who doesn't care in the slightest what anyone thinks, try a lunatic asylum.