Wednesday, July 08, 2015


Thinking takes energy, so if you can avoid it your brain will. And hopefully that last sentence helps you avoid having to read Daniel Kahneman's very thorough book 'thinking fast and slow'.

One way we commonly avoid thinking is to use 'substitution' which is when faced with a difficult question that requires effort to answer, we substitute the question for an easier one and then use the answer to the easier question.

It's a really common mental habbit. And it conserves a lot if energy, furnishing us with 'good enough' think using 3.14 instead of the actual number of pi.

The most problematic substitution though are the hard questions, the example from the book was this:

How happy are you with your life over past 6 months?

How happy are you with your sex life over the past 6 months?

Presented in this order responses don't correlate, peoples consider each question, reverse the order suddenly the answers do correlate.

Sex life bad = overall life bad. Can do it with career as well.

What i feel i see is that this doesn't apply just to filling out questionnaires but when it comes to actually trying to solve the problems of what to do with our lives. Even though the moments may be just as fleeting, it translates to decisions and translates to actions.

Figuring out what will make us happy is a hard complex simultaneous equation with at least 6 variables to solve for anddealing in absract rather than concrete terms.

How to achieve happiness = hard. How to achieve status = easy.

At least the how to part.

Take any wayward 20 something and what advice is offered them? Go back to school and change career (or become a career academic), or just plain get a job. If the job isn't the obvious solution it'll be a relationship, specifically - get one. Or get laid depending onthe coothness of your vizier.

I'm not saying career and relationships aren't crucial components of happiness. Perhaps though that is why sex and money are the two main indicators of status.

A career that makes you happy winds up requiring a lot of things working in concert and money isn't necessarily going to be in the mix, let alone significant.

Sex may feature in your most important relationships, but it's unlikely to define over the long run. Conversation is. Again complicated.

But how many people in their internal lives carry a status objective as their priority?

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