Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Chocolate Cake For My Brain Please

For we walk by faith, not by
2 Corinthians 5:7

I recently read Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman, professor emeritus in Psychology and Public Affairs at Princeton University. He also won the 2002 Nobel Prize in Economics. The book described how our brains process information and draw conclusions. Kahneman defined two different modes of thinking used to analyze data and circumstances in order to formulate reasonable expectations. System One, the intuitive side, thinks quickly and develops opinions with minimal facts and information. System Two involves cognitive thought to help us dig past the surface and get to the heart of the matter. This is hard work and System Two tends toward laziness. Prone to shift as much of our thought processing back on to System One, System Two also has a bit of a sweet tooth. When overworked it prefers chocolate cake over a healthy fruit snack almost every time. I can relate to this.

Our world gets chaotic and unpredictable; an atmosphere our brains abhor. They dislike uncertainty and will search for answers even when none exist. Quick to form solid opinions on shreds of evidence the brain, when confronted with the fallacy of its rationale, will soldier on in error. Media, advertisers and politicians all know it's easy to fool most of the people most of the time.

Our proclivity to think fast with System One underscores our need for a sure foundation of truth. When we study, meditate and establish God’s Word as the final authority, our brains have clear boundaries to operate within. Faith positions us in places of uncertainty, the scenario our brains struggle to avoid. While the brain works to understand our situation, God’s Word provides answers and comfort. There won’t always be solutions and understanding this side of eternity. Armed with this truth we’re free from attempts to draw conclusions that may make us feel better but are based on fallacies.

Scriptures teaches us that our brains need to be trained to use God’s Word to screen our thoughts. System Two needs to get up off the couch and get to work. If it feels like a struggle at times, it is. This part of our brain needs to be prodded along. To be mentally fit is as taxing as being physically fit, and a good reason to maintain a supply of chocolate cake. If you’ll excuse me, after this work out I need a piece of cake.

1 comment:

  1. Hey, I thought that was my piece! OK, we'll share it...I could use the exercise as well! I love you.