Archives for posts with tag: decision making

Chapter 1.
Feelings, perceptions, facts.

Everything starts with a feeling.
Followed by a reaction.
Which, in biology/psychology/sociology is whatever the feeling organism does after it has been ‘poked’.
At this level, everything happens ‘mechanically’. Even for the most ‘sophisticated’. None of us is aware of what’s going on inside out gut yet a lot of information is being exchanged during the digestion process. We might ‘be there’ when we eat but our presence is not requested while our digestive tracts break down our food into usable ‘chemicals’.

Organisms which are capable of learning sometimes transform their feelings into perceptions.
In the sense that their reactions are no longer determined exclusively by their genes. In some instances they use their learned knowledge to improve their reactions, hence their chances to survive.
Think, for instance, of the many things our dogs do for us. Without having a clear understanding of whats going on but, nevertheless, faring a lot better than their wild cousins, the wolves. Or about the huge amount of data passed from one generation of elephant matriarchs to the other.

Further up the decision chain are the conscious species.
Those whose individuals are capable of ‘observing themselves observing’.
This self awareness is what makes the difference between being capable of being trained and that of actually being able to learn. To choose what you consider to be important and to decide according to that particular piece of information.

This being how facts are born.
We, self aware intelligent individuals, notice something. Deem it to be of a certain importance and, hence, call it a ‘fact’.
Regardless of that something actually having happened or being nothing more than a figment of our imagination.

 

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That was how an old friend of mine – thanks Oache – was treating anyone who complained too much.
And there were plenty reasons to complain about during Ceausescu’s communist rule over Romania.

Five minutes ago I found this in my inbox:

A  young couple moves into a new  neighborhood.
The next morning while they are  eating breakfast,
The young woman sees her  neighbor hanging the wash  outside.
“That  laundry is not very clean,” she said.
“She  doesn’t know how to wash correctly.
Perhaps  she needs better laundry  soap.”
Her  husband looked on, but remained  silent.

Every time her neighbor would  hang her wash to dry,
The young woman would  make the same comments.

About one month  later, the woman was surprised to see a
Nice  clean wash on the line and said to her  husband:
“Look, she has learned how to  wash correctly.
I wonder who taught her  this.”
The husband said, “I got up early  this morning and
Cleaned our  windows.”

And so it is with life.   What we see when watching others
Depends on  the purity of the window through which we  look.
 

I’d go even further than that.
The way we perceive what’s going on around us depends heavily on the ‘filter’ each of us chooses to use when trying to make some sense of this world.
Catalin Zamfir, a Romanian sociologist with a keen interest in the decision making process, has studied how individuals try to assuage the feeling of acute/constant uncertainty experienced by each of them during the constant (social) encounters that constitute ‘daily life’. In one of his early books, unfortunately not yet translated in English, he explains that ‘ideology’ is not only a blue print for future action but also, and maybe even more important, the lens/filter through which we perceive what is going on around us. An interface that translates ‘reality’ into ideas that make sense for each of us.
The interesting thing about ‘ideology’ is that it isn’t fixed. Each of us can choose from whatever is available in his time or even ‘write’ his own.
Granted, the process of selection/rewriting incurs costs/risks. Some obvious, like adopting a contrarian stance, and others very well hidden in plain view, like the dangers that arise from indiscriminately following a herd.
And this is exactly why we should strive to keep our windows/ideological eyes as clean as possible.
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