People routinely don’t know why they do what they do

On Desire: Why we want what we want P. 97

…people routinely don’t know why they do what they do, inasmuch as the behavior in question is caused by brain systems that operate without their conscious knowledge. One of the main jobs of consciousness … is to confabulate — to generate a coherent story that ties together the operations of the various brain systems, and one way to generate this story is to hazard a guess about why a particular brain system is doing something. In short, we figure out our own desires the way we figure out the desires of other people — by observing our behavior and drawing inferences from it. And in the same way as we can be utterly mistaken about the motivations of other people, we can be mistaken about our own motivations: the inference we draw about our behavior can have little bearing on reality.”

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