Why do we sometimes find ourselves unable to make a decision on seemingly trivial matters, such as whether to eat our favorite cake or not, or whether to have one last drink or head home? This is a question that has long puzzled me, but I believe I may have found some answers from the work of neuroscientist David Eagleman.
Our minds are a complex collection of sub-agents, each interacting with each other to form a holistic system. These sub-agents can be divided into two separate systems: the fast, intuitive, and unconscious system, and the slow, analytical, and conscious system. The former is below the surface of our conscious awareness, while the latter is more deliberate and thoughtful.
From a sports perspective, the fast system allows us to react quickly to stimuli, such as catching a ball, hitting a target, or making snap decisions. Meanwhile, the slow system is what allows us to consciously analyze situations and make decisions based on reason and logic. Although movement may seem like a different topic, isn’t the synchronization between the left and right or between the upper extremity and lower extremity all controlled by the autonomic or neural system? If we can correct this synchronization, then we have the ability to work on all neural circuits.
However, the two systems often compete with each other, creating a sense of conflict and confusion in our minds. We may find ourselves stuck between two opposing forces, unable to make a decision. This is because each sub-agent is trying to exert its influence on our decision-making process.
For example, one part of us may want to be natural and spontaneous, while another part wants us to be more calculated and refined. This conflict between the two sub-agents can lead to indecisiveness, as we struggle to find a balance between them.
These two different factions in our brain compete with each other or align (perhaps) to control a single output channel. A part of us tries to muster the fortitude to forgo something, while the other wants to relish it. Our very own internal multitudes in the brain become the source of confusion.
We are the confusion. Damn!!
To overcome this, we must learn to align these conflicting sub-agents, rather than allowing them to wage war against each other. By understanding the inner workings of our minds and learning to balance our different sub-agents, we can become more decisive and confident in our decision-making.
Sometimes we get stuck at a point where the two forces are equal and cancel out. The pull matches the push, as David puts it perfectly. This is what makes us indecisive. Imagine one sub-agent wants you to be natural, whereas the other wants you to be calculated and refined.
For example, I see a beautiful lake – the natural in me wants to jump in and enjoy the swim, while the other part of me thinks about how it would reflect on me.
Therefore, we can say that the brain is a machine made up of conflicting parts. I always strive to dig deeper into how we can align these parts instead of them being at war. While I continue to do that, I always have to fight my own demons to understand it more deeply before expressing it to others. Such is the journey of learning, perhaps.
Overall, it’s a fascinating topic to explore!
Well said…. very informative. This cleared a Mental roadblock