Why we suffer

Why do we suffer?
Why does decision-making hurt so much?

It’s because of three things.
In short:
We’re looking for 90% certainty.
We’ll never get it.
We’re looking for the right answer.
There isn’t one.
We’re looking for more information.
It won’t help us.


We’re looking for 90% certainty. We’ll never get it.

We’re looking for the right answer. There isn’t one.

We’re looking for more information. It won’t help us.



Together, these three stances create endless amounts of suffering.

The truth is: All three stances come from misguided familiarity with
🤖 formal decision-making
. That’s the kind used in engineering, in maths, in many quantitative business decisions. Choosing a retirement fund, designing a bridge—these kinds of decisions lend themselves well to:
having a clearly-defined and formally expressible objective.
collecting forecasts, historical data, and running simulations to information.
deciding on the basis of this information precisely which option is correct.
Outside these contexts, this method of decision-making
🙅‍♀️ just doesn’t hold
. But we use it anyway.

Not just an approximation . . . search for it, give example. Half fixed, half might evolve. Self-modfying, you change what you “desire” on the fly . . . based on what? You explore.


But do not worry. As we shall see:
We might not get 90% certainty.
But we can feel conviction in our decision. Conviction ≠ certainty.
There might not be a right answer.
But we can feel good about the one picked.
Information might not help.
But the questions will.


Read on for an explanation of
🤾‍♂️ what stances are
and
💁‍♀️ better ones
for nebulous decision-making.

👉 Next:



this book doesn’t get to the very technical, but if you wanna discuss,

how we actually decide, go check out this book
(how people actually make decisions, not how we should or fmroammly think we do)
like extensive search vs intensive
we have an internal pair comparison thing. it’s weird. sometimes clear, sometimes not
better to think of multiple competing votes, like parties. a proposition can get support. some have veto power. e.g. regret
having a decoy option can change rankings. it.s a weird comparison function


neuroscientific apology
using certainty in a loose way; can analogise to decision variables in neuropsychology of decisions, or priors in Bayesian decision making.
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