Where we are today is a result of the paths we took, what we are today is a result of the choices we made. Some of the choices we made happily, some not so happily; the result we might choose to love or hate. What makes us make these choices? Is it a simple decision between right and wrong or good and bad, or is it something much more mysterious than that. We always try to make the best possible choice, but then how good are our ‘right’ decisions? Do we waste too much time, effort and emotion trying to be right, when the ‘apparent’ right decision we make is equally wrong? Is it possible to enjoy life not trying to be too right? Is it a mistake to make mistakes?
People are believed to take two different approaches while solving problems or making choices, one is emotional and another logical/rational. However, a recent discovery challenges our orthodox notions. Neuroscientist Antonio Damasio’s research shows that we would not be able to make any decisions if the emotional part of our brain is damaged. Rationality is over-hyped. There are no rational decisions, they are always emotional. What we are and where we are is because of our emotions, and not because of our rationality.
The strange results of this experiment took me back to our ancient scriptures. There are no good or bad, there are no rights or wrongs. Our definitions of good-bad and right-wrong are all creations of our emotional brain. So, a person without emotions will never be able to make a choice because to him there is no preferred choice. Another interesting psychological phenomenon is revealed by that same research. Decision process starts first in our subconscious mind and then the conscious one, making our feeling of ‘consciously making a right choice’ an illusion.
Same thing was proven almost 30 years ago by Libet (Libet, B., Gleason, C.A., Wright, E.W., and Pearl, D.K. (1983). Brain 106, 623–642). According to Libet’s Experiment your subconscious decides what you are going to do 300 milliseconds before you actually take that decision! If our conscious mind is not deciding for us, it puts some serious doubts on our free will. Are we mistaking randomness for free will? That can be debated as personally none of us would like to lose our free-will.
Experiments have also shown that instinctive decisions are better decisions. Right and wrong is just our perception, giving too much importance to it is only going to make you and your life serious. Why so serious? Lives aren’t meant to be serious. Everyday we are trying hard to survive tomorrow as if we are going to live forever. None of us are eternal. Life is like an ice-cream, enjoy before it melts. Listen to your heart (that subconscious emotional part of your brain), and you will be happy. No points struggling to be right, as you are going to be wrong most of the time anyways. Let go of that feeling of righteousness and make some mistakes, weather you learn from it or not, at least you will be happy. Mistakes aren't bad, they can be fun. Let’s live, and not just survive.