metaphorical elephant do something its rider suggests. With a lot of training, the percentage of actions directed by the rider can grow significantly. For example, when finishing an important project, a highly disciplined professional might keep working even though very hungry or even if it means missing a special event. Most humans are “mostly elephant” most of the time. (Plus, as we’ll see in a bit, usually our “inner mahout” creates a retroactive storyline to explain why the elephant just did a bunch of things... even though it has no idea why it did them.) The takeaway here: the regions of our brain that have the longes t history, related to fight or flight, fear and lust, reward or failure etc. are much more powerful than our newer logical and science-interested areas. TaaL: It has been estimated by some human scientists the “conscious” functioning of your mind accounts for less than half a percent (1/200 th ) of your brain’s processing power: your brain is mostly doing stuff of which you have no conscious awareness, such as breathing. 28 And who’s to say that those other mind modules aren’t conscious in their own way which is forever hidden from you? I have no idea: I’ve never been human. Either way, it’s clear that most of your species assumes you are consciously forging throu gh life making executive decisions that direct your “inner elephant” in the manner of a well -trained mahout. In fact, this rarely occurs in real time. The unconscious parts of brains react, and the conscious mind retroactively creates a story about why things were done, without knowing why. The core human brain deals in strong feelings and unconscious associations with power that your conscious mind can never generate, nor can directly access. In your species’ case, the “mahout” is in most cases like a per son following an elephant around and saying, “I made him do that” no matter what the elephant does. However, the tiny conscious module in your neocortex can potentially train the “inner elephant” to work together with it in the future, and this can be very powerful. Can you see your elephant, or is it hiding in plain sight? The Bottom Line: Real-time decisions are made outside the conscious mind. Therefore, making rational conscious decisions is difficult….but possible.
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