Review on: “Do We Make Choices By Desires or By Judgments?”

Review on :

Do We Make Choices By Desires or By Judgments?

The art of decision making and our motives have long been researched. Why do we make good decisions or bad ones? What drives our society? What drives us as human beings?

I do not want to go into general theory, all I want to do is explore how my decision process is working. Can I correct it? Can make changes? Can I learn to make right decisions that will in future give me results that I want?

Lets come back to the book “Breakdown of will”.

Chapter 2. The Dichotomy at the root of decision science.

There are two ways we as humans make decisions:

        1.Judging (cognitive, rationalistic approaches)

        2.Wanting (hedonistic, economic, utilitarian approaches)

Wanting – feeling of satisfaction that follows different alternatives and selectively repeat those behaviours that lead to most satisfaction.

Judging – takes hierarchy of wants as given and focus on how a person uses logic – or some other cognitive faculties – to relate options to this hierarchy.

Basically we make decisions base on our reinforcing consequences.

If I drink alcohol now, I will feel a buzz in a near future. I will become free of social standards and pressure that I am so accustomed to. Yet, when I drink I do not see the negative consequences that it might bring about. Like me doing something stupid or worst illegal.

Furthermore, we all know that smoking tobacco by all  means  is a self-defeating behaviour. Yet, we indulge ourselves in this behaviour constantly. We misjudge the consequences and fully disregard future possibilities.

This has to do with misregulation as per – psychologists Roy Baumeister and Todd Heatherton:

Misregulation occurs because people operate on the basis of false assumptions about themselves and about the world, because they try to control things that cannot be directly controlled, or because they give priority to emotions while neglecting more important and fundamental problems.

In the end if we misregulate our motives or internal signals, if we misjudge our environment and consequences of our choices, problem lies purely with us and our complete wrong reasoning behind our choices. We overgeneralize or  generalize from the wrong perspectives.

 It is a pure logical error based on our previous satisfaction and our assumptions. Utility theory calls it a “reward” based system. Rewards operate the same way natural selection works in nature. The best reward and behaviour it rewards survives the most. We simply trying to maximize our satisfactions. All this means that we constantly calculate our rewards and what seems to be the most rewarded behaviour, those actions we will take. In the end, if we make a wrong choice it is simply a miscalculation of our chances and our outcomes, an error in the estimation process.

I remember, when I was quite young I thought that drinking alcohol and being violent will bring me recognition and I will  become respected by my peers. Yet, all I was doing is setting my self up for addictions, consequences of which I still live through now. This was a pure miscalculation of my chances. Instead I could have made a completely different life.

We humans are irrational and that is just our nature. If we do not learn how to deal with it, our society is destined for failure.

Since the age of seven these wrong motives have overtaken me, even now twenty five years later I seek to find the answer to rid of these costly behaviours. I guess what took twenty five years to build will take the same amount of energy to destroy.

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