The Philosophical Implications of the Urge to Urinate
‘The study of lay theory yields interesting insights about the factors that hold sway over our seemingly most deeply held beliefs. What if I were to tell you, for instance, that belief in free will is negatively correlated with the desire to urinate? Those are the implications of a new study published in the journal Consciousness and Cognition by Michael Ent and Roy Baumeister. They predicted—and found—that the more people felt they needed to pee, the less they believed that humans are in control of their destinies.
‘Whence comes such a seemingly bizarre theory about the relationship between something as mundane as bodily function and as lofty as human freedom? It’s based on a brand of psychological research known as “embodied cognition,” the primary lesson of which is that moment-to-moment states of our bodies influence how we consider about the world around us…’
Why Must Seeing Be Believing?
‘Can we pack the entire human race into Missouri, the “Show Me” state? We might as well try, because when it comes to making important decisions, we humans have a bad habit of not heeding warnings when we don’t like the consequences. Why do we refuse to acknowledge risks only after we experience the downside firsthand?
‘In business, government, and our own households, we often ignore warnings that could save us a lot of trouble. For example, I remember seeing a distraught homeowner in New Jersey on the news after Hurricane Sandy hit in 2012. “We didn’t know it would be this bad,” she said, standing in front of her wrecked house. Well, every weather forecast and alert from the local authorities said it would be that bad, and people like her were supposed to evacuate. But for some reason, she didn’t listen…’
Well-Roundedness Keeps Geniuses From Becoming Madmen
‘Psychologists recognize a thin line between creative genius and destructive psychopathy: general intelligence and so-called diversifying experiences that happen in childhood or young-adulthood can keep a good egg from going bad. By diversifying experiences, psychologists mean encounters with different cultures, languages, and economic situations, i.e. conditions that demonstrate the variety of human cultures.
‘What geniuses and madmen have in common is called cognitive disinhibition: an acute awareness of their surroundings combined with the will to examine what they observe in fine detail. Alexander Fleming, who won the Nobel Prize for discovering penicillin, happened on the beneficial mold from which the medicine is derived entirely by accident…’