Reaction Reduction Theory

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Better to mistake a hose for a snake than a snake for a hose

I am finishing off Antifragile by Taleb and he points out that it is in our DNA to be more reactive or over reactive than under reactive due to the nature of erring on the side of caution or as he terms it Antifragile. In other words we are more likely to mistake a hose for a snake than mistake a snake for a hose.

All those that have mistaken  a snake for a hose were bitten eons ago and are no longer part of the gene pool. All those that have mistaken the hose for a snake were over cautious and had a laugh afterwards, but lived to see another day and were ready for the day that they came across a snake.

So we are all over reactive by nature. But now we need to spend the rest of our lives reducing this tendency to over react so that it is closer to perfect or just-right reaction.

All I have been doing for the last 30 years is trying to understand this process of reaction reduction.

I explained this to my 82 yo mum today and she even gets it.

So for my mating cycle if I meet a girl I will explain this process first and ask her if she wants any help in reducing her over reactions and if she can help me to reduce mine. And that I have some theories on how we can go about it called:

Rethink Perfect – The Upside of Uncertainty and the art of moderating our own disputes.

Steven Pinker reckons that we are less violent or aggressive than any time in history with heaps of stats that back up what he is saying and I think that it is because of this reaction reduction process that we all seem to go through, throughout our lives and loves, to a lesser or greater degree.

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1 Response to Reaction Reduction Theory

  1. GoofyFoot says:

    Its a bit like the domino effect – when we “over react” for example, if the other person is also more inclined to “over react” – then a domino effect of exponential over reacting (potentially)

    Therefore I guess that’s where the skill of appreciating someone’s reaction, even if we perceive it as an over reaction, can come in very handy. Because I find appreciating someone’s apparent over reaction can act as a sort of dampener effect and reducing likely hood of a the domino effect.

    And I guess it makes it easier for me to remember to appreciate an over reaction, when I ask myself: would I rather the person not react at all? I for one would rather an over reaction to under reaction!!

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