Thursday, March 25, 2010

Local thinking vs. heavy

When you encounter a situation, an idea, a fact, an experience.
You try naturally to understand it. To get the point, or to learn some correction to previously held beliefs.

There may arise the want to verify the belief in a system wide way. If I learned something that reduced the value of money for example, or of prudence etc. I may try to adjust my general beliefs and find out the correct wieght to put upon whatever it is.

This way of thinking is quite heavy and tiresome. It implies that every lesson we learn wil go back to be connected to all our related beleifs and we will consider everything related again.

An entirely different strategy is to Get the lesson in a local way. A local lesson is a local one. Ultimately we build a whole set of beleifs and relationships. This ultimate conclusion is a result of all our local belifs, experiences etc.

The way the brain works is that a local experience and lesson is magnified locally, but our later overal opinions will be a result of multiple local lessons.

Given that, it may even be better to learn each experience in the very local way. This way you can generally invest much more energy and attention towards the local experience. The cummulative aggregated knowledge may be even better this way, and thinking easier.

PS. Note that over generalization, takes your mind out of the current situation, and assumptions theory etc. take a bigger role. Additionally, thinking in a generalized manner seems to require more mental effort, which can be quite tiring, and even decrease the joy of thinking altogether.


Anonymous said...

Hello Zilber, as I understand you, you believe and want to advocate the intuitive sistem or like kahneman's sistem 1 (the intuitive one)or quick and dirty thinking showed in his book. That is the non-effortful thinking the do it now and then fixed if you need to. But this causes many problems the problems Nassim has shown in his book the Black swan, wouldn't be better first to think or to try to do it the effortful way and then will become automatic?

Yechezkel Zilber said...

There is much to the intuitive system.

The main thing is that it does not cost as much energy. And it may be better to stay aloive and see everything without thinking, than thinking here and there and out of the sheer effort remain paralized afterward.

There is also research showing that for complex questions it is better for complex decisions.

The main issue I havew is about learnig to hink easily, which allows for much more thinking. You may win by quantity and ease what you lose of persumed seriousness

Anonymous said...

Does your Idea relates gladwell's tipping point and Blink? Thank you.