It may not sound rational, but experts say emotions and gut feelings are more important than intellect in making choices. “We’ve never succeeded, never, in having people recognize the irrational influence of incidental emotion,” Lerner laughed. “Never?” Spencer said. “And then to make steps, no. Never.”
Never say never, right? Actually, it is possible to tame “the irrational influence of incidental emotion”… In other words, manage the bio-hoodwink (p.11, p.100). By regarding my decisions, perceptions, and actions as actually symptoms of something deeper calms down incidental emotion (see Symptoms Point Of View, p.141). Next, Correlations (p.566), offers me a way to look deeper and nip much irrational and hypocritical thought in the bud, which helps prevent it from feeding back into emotion.
This research on decision-making matches my observation… How I feel drives how I act, just like any animal. When a duck feels hungry, it goes and eats. When I feel hungry, I go and eat. How I feel also drives what I think. If a duck could think, the same thing would happen. Presumably, we are the only species that thinks, and that is where our trouble begins.
Thoughts cycle back and influence how I feel. This easily turns into a neurotic vicious circle. Thought has a firm impression that it knows and controls. Chapter 71 points out the trouble this causes, Not to know yet to think that one knows will lead to difficulty. Cognitive certainty is a self-fulfilling prophecy wherein the truth it realizes is delusional.
Ironically, the best way to avoid living this lie is also via thought. This means maintaining a continuous, albeit, subtle awareness that biology—the bio-hoodwink—is always pulling your strings via your own needs and fears, desires and worries. It is insidious!
Note how Buddha’s Fourth Truth says, “There is salvation for him whose self disappears before truth, whose will is bent on what he ought to do, whose sole desire is the performance of his duty”. Cultivating a sense of priority — duty — is essential. Maintaining a steady awareness of this helps you keep in touch with biological forces acting upon you. (See also, The Decider, p.13.)