We are not rational creatures

I’ve been reading Daniel Kahneman’s celebrated Thinking, Fast and Slow.

Thinking,_Fast_and_SlowAs well as being incredibly interesting to read, it’s reminding me of an old philosophy textbook, Delusions and Other Irrational Beliefs.

We like to think we are rational creatures. We have reasons and complex, higher-order thought processes. Humans like to believe in order rather than chaos, and there’s nowhere this is more significant than when we apply it ourselves.

The secret of psychology tells a different story; a much more fascinating portrait of the way our brains work.

Multitudes of biases and ‘short-cuts’ of thought lead us to certain conclusions. Kahneman has found that these mistakes can be categorised; we err in the same ways. There’s something uplifting about that, even if it ultimately means we cannot help but get some things consistently wrong.

The second book inspired me to take delusions as one of the central topics of Novel Number 2 (my NaNoWriMo attempt in 2013). I really enjoyed exploring the ‘line’ between sanity and madness, and how wonderful it is that we can act so differently from the way we believe we do.

Do you think you are completely rational?