9780880016223 / 0880016221

Hare Brain, Tortoise Mind: How Intelligence Increases When You Think Less


3.94 avg rating142 ratings by GoodReads

Publisher:Ecco, 1999



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About the book:

An original approach to well-being, cognition, and problem solving that flies in the face of traditional, highly structured behavior and learning. Ours is an accelerated age, and thought has to keep up with the rush. Decisive and businesslike, our customary ways of thinking serve us well when confronted with the expected questions. But when faced with complexity, we become impatient. Our "hare brains" are utterly unprepared for ambiguity, paradox, and "sleeping on it." We usually assume that the "hare brain" will beat out the intuition of the "tortoise mind." However, new research in cognitive science is changing our understanding of thought. It suggests that patience and confusion, rather than rigor and certainty, are the vital precursors to wisdom. In Hare Brain, Tortoise Mind, psychologist Guy Claxton describes the mind's three processing speeds. The first speed is instinctive and faster-than-thought; this mode could be called our "wits." The middle speed is used for logical thought and involves weighing the pros and cons and solving problems; this mode could be called "intellect." The third mode of thinking is the undermind, the slowest, most contemplative-and the most undervalued. According to Claxton, whether we're considering the origin of the universe of marital mishaps, we must learn the patience not to force the issues, the readiness to mull things over, and the humility to allow our unconscious mind to do the thinking. The tortoise cannot fail to win when it has intuition and inspiration on its side.

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