Inclusivity of diversity

Each one of us makes hundreds of decisions in a day, from the time we get up (or whether to) until we are asleep like a log (and some even after that). Some decisions are involuntary like brushing the teeth (you are no lion and need to do it every day, maybe twice) while some are very hard and require significant brainpower like whether to take a shower (come on, I just took one, last week!). The involuntary and voluntary parts of the decision-making are very important. I am not the only one who thinks that, Shankar Vedantam thinks like that too (the fellow is a Nieman Fellow at Harvard, you got to respect that at least), you can read it here. He says we really need to know when the ‘autopilot’ mode of our brain is on and whether we should allow it to go on the autopilot.

Every decision that we make matters and has an impact on our mind. From choosing the color of our toothbrush (fine, blue is my favorite too) to the person we choose to sit next to in the bus (I know Blacksburg Transit is awesome and there is hardly any space to stand), everything is recorded by the mind. Alexa (Amazon assistant, at least she has a name!) might miss some of the things that you say (or everything in my case, she doesn’t get my accent) and do but the brain won’t. It is VERY important to understand this because this is where we are training our brain what to do in the autopilot mode. Now don’t call on your brain when it takes some stupid decisions like nominating and confirming a white-male judge, accused of biased opinions and possible assaults, for the highest court of the country. You taught your brain to do that. You were responsible for training it well. When you didn’t and allowed it to go on an autopilot (when you really should not have), it may play a little and take some innocuous wrong decisions.

Our brain is a machine, it wasn’t born with its own mind (you see what I did there). But it learns and how. It becomes very powerful and can take its own decisions without you even knowing what you just did. However, we are the one in control. If we fed it junk, it is fine, happens, we can still make it unlearn that and start giving it some fresh veggies and fruits (Go vegan, you’ll). It is never late because we don’t want to be sorry!

P.S.: I was writing this with ‘autopilot mode’ on, so please excuse my irritating commentary (but why was I commentating, it is my own blog, ahh, whatever).


One thought on “Inclusivity of diversity

  1. Hey Akshay,
    The “irritating commentary” wasn’t so bad at all! It gives the reader a bit of humor to chew on while processing the heavier issues of our biases and what we do or don’t do while on autopilot. There’s a lot of nature vs nurture at play in our development, but at a certain point, we must recognize that we are adults and have to take responsibility for our choices. I think there are many of us that are eager to mobilize the winds of change on November 6. In the meantime, your post reminds me that it is so important to be conscious and mindful, from the big choices to the little ones.


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