Saturday, June 22, 2024

Daniel Kahneman’s book—Thinking, Fast and Slow

“Our comforting conviction that the world makes sense rests on a secure foundation: our almost unlimited ability to ignore our ignorance” : Daniel Kahneman in Thinking, Fast and Slow.

I am now reading Kahneman's book Thinking, Fast and Slow. One important point that comes out of his book is that human reason is not infallible, as the Western atheists—communists, liberals, libertarians and fiction writers like Ayn Rand—claim and preach. 

Humans are fundamentally irrational—even our belief in the supremacy of reason can be taken as a sign of our fundamental irrationality. We don’t build our cultures and civilizations on the basis of mathematics and science—we build them on the basis of our mythologies and fictional stories. 

Most humans, especially the experts in advanced countries, tend to be overconfident that they possess a perfect understanding of how the world works and that they are in a position of predicting the future—the examination of human overconfidence is one of the theme’s of the book . 

“We can be blind to the obvious, and we are also blind to our blindness,” Kahneman warns.

Kahneman’s primary thesis in Thinking, Fast and Slow is that the human mind operates by two systems of thought: System 1 is instinctive, stereotypical, emotional and unconscious; System 2 is slower, deliberative, logical and conscious.

I don’t agree or disagree with Kahneman’s views. The issues he raises in his book are complicated and we don’t know much about the working of the human mind—so agreement or disagreement are not possible. We know much less than what we think we know. 

But the book is thought provoking—it can make some readers introspect and examine the fundamentals of their beliefs about who they are and what kind of world they live in.

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