Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Planning and the Primate Brain

It's forgivable we're not long term planners; it's the primate brain default. But now that we know that, let's figure out how to plan around it!

Alright, perhaps that does sound paradoxical on it's face :-). But no, we really can plan around our short-sighted urges. Like, if you know that you can't help but eat the Dorritos in the closet, don't buy Dorritos so they're not in the closet in the first place. Maybe you already do things like this; what you're doing is not succumbing to your base "you" but instead making room for the you-you'd-like-to-be.

And, on a grander scale, if evidence shows us that complicated systems always eventually fail (which evidence does indeed indicate), don't get caught up in the "but everything's been going fine for years" groupthink. This is complacency, and being complacent means you're institution or company probably doesn't have contingency plans in place to deal with a problem that WILL eventually come to pass in time.

In the micro and in the macro, humans have brain systems designed for immediate action and reward. So let's take steps both in our personal lives and in our society to avoid bad situations and foresee potential for disaster. Who's with me?

1 comment:

Jye Smith said...

Some great thoughts here, Bruce. I've looked at these myself - working heavily with social networks - and the 'rhythms' we as social creatures create.

Changing these rhythms, planning for them - and ultimately predicting them - is something of great interest.