Where the senses fail us, reason must step in

Galileo once noted that “where the senses fail us, reason must step in,”
a conclusion very much consistent with that of Kahneman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow.

It is true that the unique human ability to reason is what allows for science, technology, and advanced problem-solving. 
But there are limitations to reason. Highly deliberative people tend to be less empathetic, are often perceived as less trustworthy and authentic, and can undermine their own influence. 
Ultimately, the supposed battle between head and heart is overblown.
Instead, we require a synthesis of both to make good decisions and live happy lives.

These are the highlights of an article published on BigThink: “System 1 vs. System 2 thinking: Why it isn’t strategic to always be rational – People believe that slow and deliberative thinking is inherently superior to fast and intuitive thinking. The truth is more complicated”.

Deliberation may also influence how people look at you. Individuals who are more calculating in how they cooperate are seen as less trustworthy. Spending too much time deliberating could be seen as a sign of low confidence or low capacity, which may undermine influence. Choices under deliberation are seen as less authentic. These intuitions about deliberation aren’t completely unfounded because deliberation facilitates strategic thinking, which can make people less cooperative and less charitable

Our intuitions are also important for creativity. Although deliberation does facilitate some forms of creativity, continued deliberation can undermine important “Aha!” moments (relative to using unconscious incubation).  While spending more time thinking can increase confidence, that may not always be justified.

The take-away is that we should be more mindful of what we expect from our own cognition. The question is not whether we should trust our reason or our intuition; rather, we can find agreement between what our heart wants and what our reason says.   

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