The Decision Dilemma - Introduction
Navigating Risk in an Uncertain World
A little over a year ago, my girlfriend prompted me with the question, “When your heart tells you to do one thing and your brain says to do another, how do you decide what to do?”
I thought this was a great prompt to explore in one of my typical essays, so I started writing to find an answer for her question. This unraveled into much more than an essay, so a short book filled with diagrams felt like the most appropriate format. Besides, I’ve always wanted to turn some of my writing into something tangible.
Today’s post is the introduction to my upcoming book.
Soon I became aware, to my surprise, that every thought I conceived was suggested by an external impression. Not only this but all my actions were prompted in a similar way. In the course of time it became perfectly evident to me that I was merely an automaton endowed with the power of movement, responding to the stimuli of the sense organs and thinking and acting accordingly
- Nikola Tesla in “My Inventions”
Although not said explicitly, Nikola Tesla viewed his relationship with the world through a psycho-cybernetic lens. Just like how a machine spits out an output based on the inputs it receives, psycho-cybernetics refers to the idea that human behavior and decisions are governed by what we pay attention to.
Mimesis builds further context surrounding this mechanism of cybernetic decision-making. Because we generally like to compete and strive for goals, we naturally pay attention to our competition and inspiration. We keep our eyes on our coworker competing for the same promotion as us and look up to those in positions we aspire to. Those people’s behaviors and decisions become the inputs to our psycho-cybernetic decision making machine. Mimesis is the mechanism where we tend to imitate our competition and inspiration because we pay attention to them. This tendency to imitate is one of the primary influences of the heart’s desires. To paraphrase Steve Jobs’ implicit synopsis of the mimetic mechanism, people don’t know what they want until it’s shown to them.
The last underlying mechanism behind our decisions is our internalized perception of risk. Conventional risk assessment relies on the assumption we can identify risks and forecast their likelihood. In an increasingly uncertain world, these assumptions become increasingly dangerous. We will discuss a Taleb-influenced paradigm surrounding risk to untangle this intricate web of internalized assumptions.
The premise of this book leans heavily on psycho-cybernetics, our propensity to mimesis, and Talebian risk assessment to propose an answer to the question: “If my heart tells me to do one thing and my brain tells me to do another, how do I decide what to do?”
A question that causes anxiety for many, it can be difficult to navigate decisions between the heart and brain, especially when we make thousands of decisions every day without ever thinking about them. The unconscious nature of decision-making is largely because psycho-cybernetics, mimesis, and our assumptions about risk are the hidden mechanisms that govern our decisions. The goal of this book is to uncover these mechanisms underlying our decisions so we can understand them rather than fear them.
As Carl Jung said:
Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will rule your life and you will call it fate
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Exciting! Are you posting the book chapter by chapter here or just teasing parts of it for the full release?