Mental indigestion

From The Future Does Not Compute:

The critical law at work here is that whatever I take in without having fully digested it — whatever I receive in less than full consciousness — does not therefore lose its ability to act on me. It simply acts from beyond the margin of my awareness. … To open myself inattentively to a chaotic world, superficially taking in “one damned thing after another,” is to guarantee a haphazard behavior controlled by that world rather than by my own, wide-awake choices.

2 thoughts on “Mental indigestion

  1. Reminds me of Bakker’s The Darkness That Comes Before:

    “What comes before determines what comes after…The thoughts of all men arise from the darkness. If you are the movement of your soul, and the cause of that movement precedes you, then how could you ever call your thoughts your own? How could you be anything other than a slave to the darkness that comes before?…History. Language. Passion. Custom. All these things determine what men say, think, and do. These are the hidden puppet-strings from which all men hang…all men are deceived….So long as what comes before remains shrouded, so long as men are already deceived, what does [deceiving men] matter?”

  2. Actually, those aren’t quite the right set of hidden puppet strings. I strongly recommend nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman’s recent book Thinking, Fast and Slow for a very readable account of what we currently know about how cognitive biases, belief formation, and decision-making really seem to work in humans. It is both fascinating and somewhat depressing.

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