The BBC recently broadcast an edition of its popular science documentary Horizon entitled How to make better decisions. The show featured a number of approaches to decision-making.
It was suggested (confirming what most of us instinctively know) that emotions play a large part in the way we make choices. A mathematician employed a mathematical model supposedly to take the emotion out of decisions. The model was applied to a group of men’s chances of getting a date, and the purchase of a pair of shoes. The problem is that the model doesn’t entirely remove emotion from the process, as it requires us to place subjective ratings to question such as the attractiveness of ourselves and others.
It was demonstrated how easily our decision-making can be subconsciously influenced by others. In one experiment participants’ views about someone varied significantly depending on whether they held a cold or warm drink before meeting them.
The moral is: try to analyze decisions rationally rather than allowing emotions to dictate the choice. It’s worth listing the various factors involved on paper, perhaps assigning a score and weight to each, in order to make the process more objective. Emotions can never be eliminated entirely, but at least by adopting a rational approach there influence is made less direct.
Most optimistic from a Spiritual perspective was the show’s implicit assumption that each of us has genuine free will, and thus really do possess the power to decide one option over another.
But most interesting had to be the coverage of parapsychologist Dean Radin’s work on precognition. Radin conducted experiments in which participants are shown a series of pictures at random. Some of the pictures are calming in subject nature, while others were “emotional”. Radin measured participant’s skin conductivity and found it to differ according to whether the picture was calm or emotional. But, amazingly, Radin found that in a significant number of instances the conductivity began changing a few seconds before the picture was shown, thus indicating the participant somehow glimpsed the future (ie the picture that would be shown). See Radin’s 1999 paper Evidence for an anomalous anticipatory effect in the autonomic nervous system.
Radin’s findings are entirely in keeping with the Spiritual view that time is very different to our perception of it. In the context of this documentary it was suggested that those with precognitive ability are better at decision making since the factors in their rationalization will be more comprehensive than what’s available to others with less or no precognition.
We are left with a question and a paradox. The question is whether everyone has precognitive potential, and whether it can be trained/improved. The paradox is that if we can see the future and we have free will, then why can’t we exercise our free will to change the future we have seen, thus rendering our precognition inaccurate?