Essays, Analyses and Meditations

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Why Brains Love Disasters

  • We are fascinated by bad news because they contain a lot of information.
  • Brains are lazy: you go through most of your daily life without thinking about it.
  • Brains focus only on events that alter the norm, that are not what was supposed to happen, events that are not what brains would have predicted to happen
  • Catastrophes wake up brains
  • Ordinary life has no interesting information for brains
  • Extraordinary events contain interesting information
  • Brains try to extract as much information as possible from disasters
  • Brains try to fit the extraordinary into the ordinary, but there isn't enough information about the extraordinary
  • Brains even invent information about disasters to fill the blanks
  • When disaster strikes, we spin unsubstantiated tales, and we listen to other people spinning unsubstantiated tales.
  • Misinformation, gossip and superstition thrive in disasters.
  • Our brains are simply trying to increase the amount of information because we know that people expect to acquire a lot of information from a disaster.
  • A disaster is a unique opportunity to learn things that we cannot learn from ordinary life.