Monday, April 11, 2011

The Paradox of Decision-Making

“A decision is an action you must take when you have information so incomplete that the answer does not suggest itself.”

~Arthur Radford.

Enter wisdom. Decision-making is, at its best, the exemplification of wisdom.

Most of life seems routine insomuch as the steadiness of decisions are concerned. Yet, the freedom we have in massaging the order and placement of things in our schedules dictates there’ll be much potential discord to deal with.

This is explained in the field of social psychology by the Approach-Approach Conflict and Avoidance-Avoidance Conflict theorems. With good choices or bad — worlds worse, competing — decisions still need to be made.

Decision-making conflicts are present everywhere in life, and the aspect of wisdom says, “Resolve the conflict quickly and effectively.”

A key is weighing truth... frequently competing truths. The most relevant or convincing truth wins.

The paradox of decision-making, then, involves making decisions that don’t suggest themselves. This paradox produces either disinterest or tension, whether decisions are not required or they are. Neither disinterest nor tension is naturally satisfying.

Appreciating the paradox, and the power to resolve tension where there’s incomplete information, is the key to enjoying such wisdom.

Learning to not stress over decisions not required, too, is wisdom.

© 2011 S. J. Wickham.

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