Sunday, December 25, 2011

Thinking, fast and slow - Part I

What can i say, i enjoy books written about me :P

This book is a slow and steady read. But if can catch hold of your System 2 for so long, then you are in for lots of interesting revelations. BTW, System 2 means your conscious and active self, as opposed to System 1 which is your subconscious or automatic part of the mind. It's all in the book. 

Plus, it also reaffirms my long held belief that happy and thinking don't go together :)

Random thoughts and excerpts while going through the book..

Attention is expensive. It is tiring and needs effort. So we try to keep it to the minimum. But you have to be careful of what gets assigned to auto-pilot.

You can only do one activity which needs attention at a time.

"As you become skilled in a task, it's demand for energy diminishes. A general "law of least effort" applies to cognitive as well as physical exertion. The law asserts that if there are several ways of achieving a goal, people will gravitate to the least demanding course of action. Laziness is built deep in our nature."

The ability to control attention is a measure of intelligence. There is also a close connection between the ability to control our attention and the ability to control our emotions.

The only time when conscious mental activity is _not_ aversive is when you are in a state of flow.

Self-control also requires effort and attention. If you are focusing on something else, your self-control is bound to weaken.

"The ease with which people are satisfied enough to stop thinking is rather troubling."

"A reliable way to make people believe in falsehoods is frequent repetition, because familiarity is not easily distinguished from truth."

The ease of living with someone increases with time. And it is so so enticing to consider the happy and safe feeling, love. But is it?

"A capacity for surprise is an essential aspect of our mental life, and surprise itself is the the most sensitive indication of how we understand our world and what we expect from it."

"The dominance of conclusions over arguments is most pronounced where emotions are involved."

Now on to the next part of the book...