We are paradoxical creatures who long to be happy while creating our own suffering.
- We worry about things we have no control over.
- We whine about not being understood while casting a critical eye on others.
- We self-righteously and stubbornly defend our entrenched opinions despite ambiguous, even contradictory evidence.
- We aspire to goals we lack the discipline to achieve.
- We struggle to adapt to a complex world that we ourselves created.
Our thinking and feeling are often poorly matched to the reality of human life today.
- We oversimplify complex challenges.
- We’re overconfident in our oversimplified judgments.
- We overreact to small, unimportant stuff.
- We are torn by competing desires within ourselves.
- We search for meaning in the wrong places.
We haven’t yet mastered our neuron-packed brains whose design features can morph into design flaws.
- The cognitive design features of our brains have always served our survival. But they evolved in a world that is different than today’s.
- So the features become flaws in a need of a fix.
But there are fixes that make it easier …
fixes that offer complexity of thinking to match the complexity in our lives.
- Cognitive scientists and philosophers have come up with powerful strategies to fix each of our cognitive design flaws.
- These fixes all depend on reducing our reliance on the default ways of thinking and reacting that make being human hard. How?
- The underlying mechanism that enables all of the strategic fixes goes by many names (e.g., metacognition, mindfulness); I call it “The Space Between.”
- The Space Between represents the ultimate huma paradox: only by escaping ourselves can we make it easier to be human.