Mirela Alexe

Emotions and How We Decide

by Mirela Alexe

Surprisingly enough, when one gets married or partners with someone, people expect him or her to do it out of love. Nobody will applaud a decision based on cold calculation, no appreciation will be shown for an open exhibition of the formula and rationale that have been used to decide on what is best in regard to money, welfare, security, and happiness.

Still, when we work, or buy, or trade, people really believe that the rationale and the formula should be there, and all the feelings left out. You need a clear head, you have to thing straight, you have to be objective, and you need to take everything into account. How many times have you heard this? Too many, by far.

Let’s go back to the beginning. You have to decide with whom you will spend the rest of your life, make and raise children, spend your money, make personal investments and die, based on a feeling and the so-called mutual understanding, as in communication. No rationing is openly acceptable, because society tells that you cannot choose your partner by thinking about it in contractual terms, even if most people, lacking this moral contract, end up without love but with a lot of problems.

Still, you can’t be accepted to make decisions in any other area of your life but based on ration and clear thinking, no emotions involved. “It’s business. Leave your personal feelings at the door”, but close the greatest deal in your life based on them. Love your partner and feel about him or her, but no one else, the others are not to be viewed like that and in the vision of our society, when you deal with them you are not supposed to feel.

Because no one would be able to acknowledge, not even at a personal level, not even in his own mind, that every decision we make is finally directed by what we feel. Yes, we have taken everything into account, we have judged and balanced every argument, but in the end, it is the gut feeling that tells us what to do. And most days are spent ruminating not on the decisions based on our gut feeling, but on those where we ignored it.

That’s what separates us from the artificial intelligence, that at the end of the day, except for the cognitive facts, we put in there our feelings, and the combination leads to what we feel to be right, which haunts us more than what we think it is right, because what we feel is in us, but what we think is out there, and everything derives from a reality that is a mere projection of ourselves. And it is only ourselves that can feel the right or wrong of our projection, as we are not able to rationally calculate the reality of a machine.

All there is out there is different from all we are in there. The mind gives way to hypotheses and we judge based on what they tell us back. We rationalize our reality and internalize it depending on how we feel about our representations and perceptions of the world. And sometimes the only apparent difference between two identical intelligent minds is the decision they make, they both know the same things, they have the same amount of data available, the same input, the same logic, and still they reach different decisions, based on how it feels. Feel! Do it because this is another asset and it is not teachable, neither in school, nor in life.

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