We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Freeman Dyson discusses Daniel Kahneman's Thinking, Fast and Slowin the NYRB. A quote:
(A) theme of Kahneman’s book, proclaimed in the title, is the existence in our brains of two independent sytems for organizing knowledge. Kahneman calls them System One and System Two. System One is amazingly fast, allowing us to recognize faces and understand speech in a fraction of a second. It must have evolved from the ancient little brains that allowed our agile mammalian ancestors to survive in a world of big reptilian predators. Survival in the jungle requires a brain that makes quick decisions based on limited information. Intuition is the name we give to judgments based on the quick action of System One. It makes judgments and takes action without waiting for our conscious awareness to catch up with it. The most remarkable fact about System One is that it has immediate access to a vast store of memories that it uses as a basis for judgment. The memories that are most accessible are those associated with strong emotions, with fear and pain and hatred. The resulting judgments are often wrong, but in the world of the jungle it is safer to be wrong and quick than to be right and slow.
System Two is the slow process of forming judgments based on conscious thinking and critical examination of evidence. It appraises the actions of System One. It gives us a chance to correct mistakes and revise opinions. It probably evolved more recently than System One, after our primate ancestors became arboreal and had the leisure to think things over. An ape in a tree is not so much concerned with predators as with the acquisition and defense of territory. System Two enables a family group to make plans and coordinate activities. After we became human, System Two enabled us to create art and culture.
His "System One" is more prone to illusions, but it takes less mental effort, as does getting through Dyson's intelligent article.
Perhaps I am too willing to accept this explanation because it is congenial to my thought, but it does seem to provide a shorthand version of free-will: Yes, our will is free, but not so free as we'd like. Many things are automatic.
Assistant VIllage Idiot
Systems 1 and 2 constitute a false dichotomy.
Anecdotally, I've found that many human decisions are made subconsciously, and often before the person making the decision is aware that a decision is to be made.
The move from print to visual mass media has shifted society in general from rational consideration to intuitive, instantaneous impression. We value glibness over wisdom, and both the ads and the shows on TV use word and sound to slide messages past our critical faculties.
This parallels the shift from "masculine" virtue to "feminized" culture and social policy... in Jewish mysticism, powers of discrimination and rational self-mastery are within the sphere of "Gevurah" (= masculine, heroic strength and justice) while the gestalt sense of unbounded, empathetic connection with others is within the sphere of of "Hesed" (= feminine lovingkindness and mercy).
Progressives have shifted Western society from a balanced approach, away from Gevurah to Hesed - and the shift in mass media tools has reflected/abetted that change.
The cognitive retraining of the TV generation effects the actual conclusions it reaches - by changing HOW it thinks... another, deeper version of "the medium is the message".
--excellent --and excellently compressed. Accessible elucidation of the McLuhan dictum --for anyone who easily and repeatedly loses comprehension of it --like me for instance!
I'd say that the production of images for screens is "Gevurah" acting-out "Hesed" --in that tho the product is bought by end-users for the entertainment value of a controlled experiencing of emotions, the product is produced for these end-users in a sort of fascisti fugue of absolute control from offstage.
...but just think about it, BD. What do the great tyrants do, but make a presentation of their ''selves''? Think of Peckinpah or Kubrick as apex politicians --you gotcher Hitler and Stalin there --or H & S as film directors --oh hallelujah, if only!