Everybody around me is so confused. The bankers I work with are confused. My friends are confused. My flatmates are confused. The government is confused. Even the smoke alarm in my flat is confused.
Why all this confusion? We are never confusion free it seems. Either we are confused about this or we are confused about that. Why are we not able to make a single decision with full conviction and certainty? Sometimes, even the logic of AND and OR don’t seem to apply anymore.
Let’s look at these few cases below:
|#||Situation 1||Situation 2||State of Mind|
|Case1||Not Confused||Not Confused||Confused!!|
The last three cases are self explanatory, however, the first one needs some explanation.
You see, when we are not confused by Situation 1 or Situation 2, we tend to become even more confused. I am not a phychologist or any ‘logist for that matter but my pea sized brain tells me that it has got something to do with our human nature. We are designed to be sceptical. We tend to look at everything through the lenses of a cynic. So, when everything is smooth sailing (case 1 above), when the wind is perfect and the waters are calm, we tend to wonder what the f*** happened to the storm. Did I take a wrong turn somewhere? Am I heading off in the right direction? I was expecting gale winds here!
The explanation can be found in evolutionary psychology. When our ancestors were roaming around in the jungles of Africa, they were faced with constant peril. There is something called the “lull before the storm”. When predators such as wild cats and crocodiles are on a hunt, they go into the stealth mode just before they go for the kill. The jungle suddenly becomes eerily dead and our forefathers after loosing one or two members of their tribes became extra vigilant during any such lull. We, today’s humans – trapped by the codes of DNA and genes – are fated to follow those same instincts as them, even though a lazy afternoon is just that, not a preparation for a storm to come!…
Decisions are always binary. So, for everything, you need to either do A or to do B, there should always be a yes or a no. It is not advisable to put our two legs in two different boats. So, a decision needs to be made, thus owing to the confusion. Also, now a days, in the World of information technology and internet, there is just too much information out there. Every Tom, Dick and Harry has a viewpoint and none of them shy away from expressing that. So, our poor mind, already reeling from the complexity of the problem in hand, gets buried in these multiple viewpoints barging in from all over the place. In this barrage of information flow, our original thoughts go for a toss, to be replaced by these conflicting alternatives thus increasing the confusion.
But the most wonderful thing of all and which no doubt is partly responsible, if not wholly for our confused World, is the the amazing realty of hindsight. It is a beautiful thing. It lets us ponder over why it is better not to have all our eggs in the same basket, or why buying the £1000 suit was not such a great idea after all. So, does hindsight contribute to our confusion? The truth is, it does. The fact that we know it exists creates confusion. We try to make the decision such that we dont have to regret it in hindsight, and to be honest, this over analysis of the solution creates all the confusion and the mess which we eventually end up regretting in, what else, hindsight!!