Mental processes that are inaccessible to consciousness organize our thinking, shape our judgments, form our characters, and provide us with the skills we need in order to thrive

Brooks, David (2011-03-08). The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement (p. 2). Random House, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

In his book, Strangers to Ourselves, Timothy D. Wilson of the University of Virginia writes that the human mind can take in 11 million pieces of information at any given moment. The most generous estimate is that people can be consciously aware of forty of these. “Some researchers,” Wilson notes, “have gone so far as to suggest that the unconscious mind does virtually all the work and that conscious will may be an illusion.” The conscious mind merely confabulates stories that try to make sense of what the unconscious mind is doing of its own accord. Wilson and most of the researchers I’ll be talking about in this book do not go so far. But they do believe that mental processes that are inaccessible to consciousness organize our thinking, shape our judgments, form our characters, and provide us with the skills we need in order to thrive. John Bargh of Yale argues that just as Galileo “removed the earth from its privileged position at the center of the universe,” so this intellectual revolution removes the conscious mind from its privileged place at the center of human behavior. This story removes it from the center of everyday life. It points to a deeper way of flourishing and a different definition of success.

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