Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Use Your Delusion

I have been thinking about delusion recently.

What does delusion mean? I assume it to be a state of misleading oneself.

I believe that delusion (now and again) is perfectly normal state for us humans.

I.e. sometimes we have beliefs about reality which we choose to ignore or on the other hand we have some beliefs about reality that (if in a more rational state) we would discount out of hand.

An example:

People living through traumatic episodes. I doubt any victim that lived through a holocaust could be completely rational, when dying would be the more rational choice.


I wonder why we replace the rational beliefs with delusional beliefs? Such a replacement would seem irrational, as having a less good picture of reality should be disadvantageous for decision making.

Note here that when people usualy mention irrationality they mean bounded rationality.

We humans for example are boundedly rational - we have limited decision making capabilites - we are sometimes wrong. Stock market bubbles are a product of bounded rationality not irrationality - traders draw upon (limited) experiences and understandings and create false overly optimistic beliefs. These false beliefs are grounded on the trader's experience of reality however, and are therefore boundedly rational. For example, traders that lost everything after the dot com bust, weren't bonkers they just didn't have the years of experience and trading acumen to avoid those losses.

Husbands and wives are also boundedly rational (most are human afterall). Their decision to marry may be overly optimistic and end up a bad decision. I suspect though, that the first rush of love may well be ver close to irrational.

Drug users may also be irrational. Seeing as love and cocaine stimulate the same areas of the brain (apparently), perhaps we can better view irrationality as a /temporally/ altered rationality, rationality based on a different reality.

Humans (and other animals) have evolved to be in states of delusion. It is sometimes advantageous (and sometimes disadvantageous) for us to temporally alter our realities away from the usual grounded, boundedly rational view of reality.

I wonder would it be possible to model and simulate games (game theoretical ones) where delusion (or irrationality) is advantageous? - as far as I am aware, there are no games where a player can gain strategic advantage from manipulating her own beliefs.

- Perhaps genetic irrational anger could in some situations be a "natural" credible threat...



DeniCaa said...

nice point, in a logic-twisting kind of way =p

i mean, what's wrong with delusioning? is it so bad to use your heart and creativity to conceal something rather than using your head and being rational all the time?

there was once a time of compasision, of people prefer their hearts than their brain, a once called romanticism.

art, after all, is a form of delusion, a creative outcome of the heart.

being rational drove you from sharing the pity towards the needy. rational popped questions in your head all the time. e.g why in the hell are they lying around instead of working to make something for their living? maybe they cant do anything. maybe they are looking for what's left of human's hearts.

however, there are times when rationality is crucial. doing exams, seeing through something is one of the option.

johnorford said...

"nice point, in a logic-twisting kind of way =p"

maybe i should've written it in a clearer way :) -- maybe too many economics terms...

"what's wrong with delusioning?"

Sometimes nothing. but drug addicts are the best examples of the delusional you can find, and I wouldn't like to be in their shoes.

basically, delusion leads to worse decisions - that's what's wrong with it.

the question really should be: what's so good about delusion? we have it for a reason, i can't figure a good logical reason for delusion (yet).

"art, after all, is a form of delusion, a creative outcome of the heart."

sure? the best art tells us something important about our realities, imo... maybe art is the direct opposite of delusion... i dunno...

"rational popped questions in your head all the time. e.g why in the hell are they lying around instead of working to make something for their living?"

the right answers aren't important, but finding the right questions is very important...


good comment, throws things open a bit more....

DeniCaa said...

remind me, why i still not seeing you in my school dressed in a blue coat and a red tie smiling with an economic textbook in your hand, saying "ok class, we'll have a pop quiz not".