When the mind is denied the emotional sting of losing, it never figures out how to win
An experiment known as the Iowa Gambling Task designed by the neuroscientists Antonio Damasio and Antoine Bechara.
The game went as follows: a subject—"the player"—was given four decks of cards, two black and two red, and $2,000 of play money. Each card told the player whether he'd won or lost money. The subject was instructed to turn over a card from one of the four decks and to make as much money as possible. But the cards weren't distributed at random. The scientists had rigged the game. Two of the decks were full of high-risk cards. These decks had bigger payouts ($100), but also contained extravagant punishments ($1,250). The other two decks, by comparison, were staid and conservative. Although they had smaller payouts ($50), they rarely punished the player. If the gambler drew only from those two decks, he would come out way ahead.
At first, the card-selection process was entirely haphazard. There was no reason to favor any specific deck, and so most people sampled from each pile, searching for the most lucrative cards. On average, people had to turn over about fifty cards before they began to draw solely from the profitable decks. It took about eighty cards before the average experimental subject could explain why he or she favored those decks. Logic is slow. But Damasio wasn't interested in logic; he was interested in emotion. While the gamblers in the experiment were playing the card game, they were hooked up to a machine that measured the electrical conductance of their skin. In general, higher levels of conductance signal nervousness and anxiety. What the scientists found was that after a player had drawn only ten cards, his hand got "nervous" when it reached for the negative decks. Although the subject still had little inkling of which card piles were the most lucrative, his emotions had developed an accurate sense of fear. The emotions knew which decks were dangerous. The subject's feelings figured out the game first.
Neurologically impaired patients who were unable to experience any emotions at all— usually because of damaged orbitofrontal cortices—proved incapable of selecting the right cards. While most people made substantial amounts of money during the experiment, these purely rational people often went bankrupt and had to take out "loans" from the experimenter. Because these patients were unable to associate the bad decks with negative feelings—their hands never developed the symptoms of nervousness— they continued to draw equally from all four decks. When the mind is denied the emotional sting of losing, it never figures out how to win.
It seems that there is a very specific area in the brain which could be called poetic memory and which records what has charmed us, what has moved us, what gives our life its beauty.
Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity... It is, in short, the subject of the history of the Grail. Only a predestined being has the ability to ask another: what is your torment? And he doesn't have it when he enters life. He has to go through years of dark night.
Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.
Almost everyone in the world is self-absorbed within themselves. They regard themselves as the most important beings. People rarely speak bad about themselves. They are the heroes in their own story no matter how much entanglement of lies and bullshit is needed to achieve a gratifying and satisfying version of the tale.
By observing their actions, you could trace back their thought pattern, intentions, interest, and vision. Stop for a moment and analyze the action. Stop caring about what they say, what they think about how the world should be, how everyone can execute their best, or why the world is so messed up. They speak whatever hell it takes to sound amazing. Listen to their actions. Listen only and only to their actions.
We all have forests on our minds. Forests unexplored, unending. Each one of us gets lost in the forest, every night, alone.