It is a profoundly erroneous truism, repeated by all copy-books and by eminent people when they are making speeches, that we should cultivate the habit of thinking what we are doing. The precise opposite is the case. Civilization advances by extending the number of important operations which we can perform without thinking about them.”

– Alfred Whitehead, An Introduction to Mathematics, 1911

It is one of the more undisputed facts of human and social sciences that we humans make most of our decisions unwittingly.  First of all, we make decisions we don’t even acknowledge as such – like which foot to put forward first, when walking towards the door. Secondly, even when we do bracket out a moment of our existence and identify ourselves as making a Decision, we are swayed by biases, heuristics, emotions, intuitions to a degree where the instant of deciding is more or less just retrospectively justifying to ourselves the outcome we had already reached. Continue reading