Monday, July 30, 2012

Beyond the blink - the art of delay

I pass on two interesting and related pieces on the limits of rapid spontaneous intuition judgements and actions, contra Malcolm Gladwell. Partnoy describes the spectacle of the initial reporting rush that incorrectly described the recent Supreme Court decision on health care, a case of focused "present bias" that would have been avoided by waiting and reading a bit further into the court decision. Brain pickings points to Partnoy's more scholarly and extended treatment of this issue in its piece on his new book.
Thinking about the role of delay is a profound and fundamental part of being human. Questions about delay are existential: the amount of time we take to reflect on decisions will define who we are. Is our mission simply to be another animal, responding to whatever stimulations we encounter? Or are we here for something more? ...Our ability to think about delay is a central part of the human condition. It is a gift, a tool we can use to examine our lives. Life might be a race against time, but it is enriched when we rise above our instincts and stop the clock to process and understand what we are doing and why. A wise decision requires reflection, and reflection requires pause. The converse of Socrates’s famous admonition is that the examined life just might be worth living.

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