Monday, March 28, 2011

Blink, book review and a link for Lent

I just finished Blink, The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, by Malcolm Gladwell.   It was an interesting and enlightening book.  This is the first book by Gladwell that I have read, and really enjoyed the way that he can tell data and facts in story form that keeps you hooked.

He never calls it intuition, rather Gladwell gives scientific evidence to show that the initial reactions we have in the first two seconds of an experience are often more correct than more thought-through decisions, the reason being that in the first instant our mind gathers only the most important information, leaving us with a "gut" reaction, whereas too much information may pollute our decision-making.  The book is a series of scientific studies and actual events, but told as quickly-moving stories and fun to read.

I was interested in the subject because I think that learning to hear that voice inside you- the still, quiet deep down truth- is one of the most difficult things to learn to trust.  The theory in the book is a little foggy, because there are some examples when the opposite is true and the first reaction is a wrong one, and so I don't think that there is actually a practical methods for decision making, other than to help you to pay closer attention to your gut, and also to show some ways that too much information may be unfair or damaging.

Although I cannot argue with the science, I am curious about the role that intuition plays- the things that you just know that you know, without really knowing why you know it.  I also wondered when you should trust your instinct and when you should rely on logic- this is one conclusion he gives in the afterword, a quote by Freud: "When making a decision of minor importance, I have always found it advantageous to consider all the pros and cons.  In vital matters, however, such as the choice of a mate or profession, the decision should come from the unconscious, from somewhere within ourselves.  In the important decisions of personal life, we should be governed, I think, by the deep inner needs of our nature."

A good link on Lent:

The Season of Lent at Sit a Spell
Until a few years ago, our family had never really thought much about Advent or Lent.  We're Baptist.  To be honest, those things sounded a little cookey to us.  We can be ridiculous that way.  . . . 

We were the first to admit that like Christmas, Easter would sort of land on us.  We'd walk into church, our hearts unprepared, and then try and take in within one church service the complexities and rich beauty of the cross and the resurrection.  Impossible.  We left kind of numb.  Perhaps a tad-bit moved.  But mostly overwhelmed and feeling a little let down.  Just as celebrating Advent completely changed Christmas for us, taking the weeks prior to Easter to really savor the story of Jesus' death and resurrection has been life changing.

(good links here, too)


Meg Martin said...

Thank you for sharing those links on Lent! I gave up something for lent last year, but never made too much of a study out of it. I hope it is something we'll be interested in doing as a family some day when we have kids that are old enough to understand. As far as acting on your gut feeling... so often true! I know it's so true when it comes to parenting! It is hard for me to sometimes dissect truth from the emotional story that builds in my mind.

Fijufic said...

I enjoy each celebration as it comes to us...Thank you for your wonderful posts and great perspective.


Caroline Starr Rose said...

I read BLINK last year and quickly followed it up with OUTLIERS and THE TIPPING POINT. My poor family had to listen to all the interesting things I'd learned.

Love your previous post about grace and children. I have two boys, and I'm learning that life has so much room for practice, in fact it's about practice, not getting it right, you know? Our Father is not keeping score.