Pure madness, or how Dan Ariely puts it – Predictably irrational

Hack your brain and understand why you make stupid decisions

Talk is cheap, you’ve heard it before. But speaking of equality, how come today’s community has got the most militant advocates for a broad range of things in some way touching on this concept, yet also a bad situation for equality in general? The concept has been eroded to the point of sliding into pure madness, and the more you think of a question close to your heart, the clearer this situation will become. What’s up with us all and why do we seem to be so totally out of mental shape when dealing with issues of equality?

As most are aware of, thinking and acting are two separate things of human capacity. Some people like to use these two mechanisms simultaneously, while others prefer to focus on one at a time. For some people, thinking is the main mechanism, the focus point which to trust and invest effort into perfecting.

Others believe that it is through acting that human development happens, thus investing time and effort into actually trying out new ideas much more than leaving them to be only a set of thoughts.

What’s the deal about all of this is that those preferring one over the other, value it more and thus see the other alternative as necessary indeed, but not quite valuable as the preference of choice. That’s just normal – imagine all people walking around and thinking EVERYTHING’s awesome, that would be insane.


It’s about change in thinking about human behavior in the first place

The thing about human beings in general, and our ability to rationalize choices in particular, is that we are all highly biased. Our previous experience, thoughts, information, desires, needs and wishes all create a basis from which then to make somewhat irrational decisions.

“What happens when people expect something from their physiology? For example, we sold people pain medications. Some people, we told them the medications were expensive. Some people, we told them it was cheap. And the expensive pain medication worked better. It relieved more pain from people, because expectations do change our physiology.”
– Dan Ariely

Our mere perception about certain products, event and people all depend on their presentation, our own circumstances and pretty much science determines how we will act in a given case. Choosing painkillers depend on the amount of access to information we’ve got about this particular product, sometimes overlapping the very previous personal (bad) experience with that brand.

If we’d like to think that something will work out just fine, it might indeed but it may also not at all. The capacity people have when dealing with tough situations, to think about them in such a way making them bearable, is one example of things going well.

The opposite, well, take any blind date and you’ll get the point.

Look at this like the inequality gap between a real situation and acting from pure madness.

What we think we are, think, do and believe – And then there’s the truth

Now, as the brain might be better at thinking about things than deciding which actions to take, this isn’t the whole truth. In reality, the brain creates a beautiful world in which all the worst things imaginable to humanity is a little bit, well, put away. Likewise, this is also what happens when people think about themselves, resulting in at times really funny gaps between reality and fantasy.

Now, nobody in our sample wanted full equality. Nobody thought that socialism is a fantastic idea in our sample. But what does it mean? It means that we have this knowledge gap between what we have and what we think we have, but we have at least as big a gap between what we think is right to what we think we have.
– Dan Ariely

The world seems to spin even without someone thinking, reasoning and acting, yet our species would like to think otherwise. We’d like to be the important ones, the heroes, the best of the best and the purest of all purity.


What if our brain really enjoys to BS us? Considering the amount of data we’ve got available, the case studies for how to end poverty and help make equality happen, it’s amazing that we haven’t succeeded yet.

That is, if the assumption is that we actually, deep down, would like to see that happen. Equality, in all forms, shapes and sizes, is a beautiful concept but it requires a total freedom from selfishness to reach its full potential. Do we do that?


Hack your brain and behavior

There’s a gap between our conscious thinking and subconscious reasoning, creating this imbalance and fully irrational thinking in total. Dan Ariely, a behavioral economist looking at human behavior and analyzing the predictability lying in this irrational way of do the human beings thing, sees some issues involving these gaps.

Then we have the desirability gap. How do we get people to think differently about what we really want?You see, the Rawls definition, the Rawls way of looking at the world, the blind tasting approach, takes our selfish motivation out of the picture. How do we implement that to a higher degree on a more extensive scale?
– Dan Ariely

As an observation, in order to create more awareness of our internal imbalance and the external influence on decision-making (helping that imbalance to flourish), some serious deep thought might be necessary.

If we’re all for inequality, in all aspects of life, then we should keep moving in the same direction. If there’s some part of us, however, wishing to change things and really make the world better, making ourselves better in the process then scientists like Dan need to keep happening to us.

Making dumbass decisions happen to everyone in life (some like to do it more often than others), and in admitting shit to be happening is the very first step of figuring out why that is, and what to do about it.

This is important for evolving as a human being, on a personal level as well as societies. Equality isn’t just about beer, pills and poverty – it goes into pretty much every thinkable aspect of life, and is it then a great idea to ignore it all?

If people are predictably irrational, let’s use that as a new guide for understanding human beings and concepts that we’ve made based on the old assumption of being fully rational.

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