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The Googlesphere.

January 12, 2018

Somedays I sit here wondering why I can’t achieve the same level of certainty from a google search as my clients can. Why it is that they find answers while I just find more questions………

I am a cosmetic chemist and not a psychologist but I can understand why some people happily devour articles from Mercola, David Avocado Wolf, Gwyneth Goopy Paltro, Young Living and others besides.  These online spaces look safe, inviting, professional and compelling. They are super popular (so they must be right, right?)  and  they write like they have our best interest at heart and I’m sure that they all do in a way (well, I’m not entirely sure but I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt).

But I can’t get no satisfaction from any of the above.

I remember reading a book called ‘Thinking Fast and Slow”  by Daniel Kahneman.

Thinking fast and slow

The book explains why and gives examples of how the brain prefers to make decisions quickly and take on information that already confirms existing beliefs rather than challenging its self.  That makes so much sense really when you think about it, that we are really quite conservative creatures.  You only have to watch the popular kids show ‘Horrible Histories’ and seek out the segment they call ‘Stupid Deaths’ to be reminded of all the many and varied ways we can meet our demise while going about our daily business.  Life is fragile and there is so much to be uncertain about so better take care where we can!

The chemical industry of which I am a part is prime ground for triggering our fear receptors. Not many people understand or care for chemistry in its pure form. It’s difficult to learn, lots of chemicals can hurt you even if you do nothing to them, some chemicals can make us feel and act funny and others can kill us slowly and silently as they fester away invisibly in the environment or in our bodies where they slowly mutate our cells.  It’s all rather nasty business to the uninitiated and there is no denying the dangers that chemicals and the chemical industry can and do present.

But in spite of that I still can’t leave it alone. I have a passion for chemistry and generally find chemicals quite fascinating. So what is going on with me?

I think I summed it up best in the  second sentence of this blog post.  I just keep finding more questions where others find answers.  I want to understand why, how, where, when, what and who.  I get my comfort from the journeys that the questions I ask take me on rather than from the fast destination that those other sites deliver me to. To me those sites feel fake, like a trap almost or certainly like a veneer has been painted over everything so that it all looks manageable.  Maybe I don’t like manageable?

I don’t feel good or smug about thinking like this, in fact it is pretty exhausting and often unsatisfying to sit down thinking that I know something for sure only to find that after a few hours of research I now feel that I know less than I did before.  However, when something finally clicks it changes me right to the heart, as if I’ve grown taller or deeper….Probably deeper.  Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that the hard work and discomfort does eventually seem to pay off, thank goodness!

So why tell you this?

Well it’s that time of year, being January and all, where we might be thinking of starting something new, being bigger better people, challenging ourselves or whatever and I need as much encouragement as the next person so I’m sharing this to remind me of how I think and what I get out of it.  I’m also putting it out there in case you too want to challenge yourself to think differently about things too.   By the way, thinking differently does not necessarily lead to thinking different things or to put it another way coming to different conclusions.  Rather it gives you the opportunity to examine your thoughts in a more complete way, from different angles and, if you like, to test them.  In short, it takes you from thinking like a layman to thinking like a scientist.

So if your new year resolution is to think slower and deeper, to challenge yourself and develop your ideas further then please do drop me a line as I’ll always be happy to entertain you and your ideas.

Amanda x

4 Comments leave one →
  1. January 12, 2018 3:15 pm

    “it is pretty exhausting and often unsatisfying to sit down thinking that I know something for sure only to find that after a few hours of research I now feel that I know less than I did before” I love this feeling! Another excellent post! Thank you!

  2. January 13, 2018 9:25 am

    I’m a big fan of the work of Kahnemann and Tversky (I wrote my master’s thesis about rationality and intuition). Funny thing: this exact book is on my book shelf and I only read the first pages. This year it’s time to finish it! Thanks for the reminder!

    • RealizeBeautyEd permalink*
      January 19, 2018 10:23 pm

      Enjoy! I got quite a lot out of it when I read it. Very interesting indeed.

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