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Will Martin @will_wtj
, 13 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
1.I note from this thread how many people have nominated 'Thinking Fast & Slow' as a book which has profoundly affected they way they think. I count myself among them, & it would be interesting to understand in more detail what has been particularly impactful for different people
2. I think for me the 'blew me away' insight is best captured when Kahneman says that when asked to remember stressful incidents from their past, most people run out of examples after giving three or four
3. We are just not good at accessing our memories unless we do deliberate work to keep them accessible and relatively near the surface
4. This insight made me realise how little of what have I read, seen & experienced I have 'to hand' & that 'winging it' through life, relying on System 1, my attentive brain, to do a good job in representing my accumulated experience in my day-to-day activity is hopelessly naive
5. Yes, you will get by, you will most likely stay out of trouble, but you will not be credibly accessing the depth and profoundness of what you know
6. And this suddenly seems very close to something I have just read by Kierkegaard in 'The Sickness Unto Death': "most people never really in all their lives manage to become more than they were in childhood and youth: immediacy with a dash of reflection added...
7. ...The adolescent's illusion is that of hope, that of the adult recollection...This 'fuimus' [we have been], which we so often hear from older people, is just as great an illusion as the younger person's illusions for the future; they lie or invent, both of them."
8. Kahneman's observations eerily echo Kierkegaard's philosophical ones: that it is almost a default condition for us not to be present to our real, actual past, which contains enormous experience and potential for improving our understanding of ourselves, the world, and others
9. But instead we imagine that we remember it well and do not need to spend special time or effort to focus on it and weigh it. We tell ourselves neat but false stories about it and kid ourselves that we have great recall and access to it
10. To know ourselves we have to dig, excavate and purposively contemplate our memories and experiences. And doing that, we can move forward with more confidence and alacrity because we bring closer to the top of our minds the maps of the complex paths we have already trodden
11. Making up a story about how one really was 'content' and 'achieved so much', 'given what was possible', allows the years to fold in on themselves in a great miasma, wherein the question 'was the time really well spent?' can be occluded in its fog
12. Kierkegaard goes on: "It is extremely suppose it really should be such an easy affair with faith and wisdom that they just arrive over the years as a matter of course, like teeth, a beard and that sort of thing...
13...No, whatever a human being comes to as a matter of course, it is definitely not faith and wisdom.The adult remains standing, time passes, but he manages to heal the past with the help of forgetfulness, he becomes the receiver of goods he has himself stolen."
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