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Pabitra Mukhopadhyay

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What leads us to decide?

We need to take decisions in life almost every day. In work or outside of it, life takes us on crossroads where decisions are necessary, without which we cannot move on. It is in these situations we take decisions and we believe that the decisions are independently taken, weighing pros and cons and utilizing our best judgments.

That may not be the case. Our decisions may not be as individualistic as we normally think. Our judgments may not be the best under the circumstances. We are often influenced by authority that comes from an expert or an institution or even a belief system but all of which, either solely or in combination are relied on as of authority. Yale University Psychologist Stanley Milgram, in 1963 published his research paper which measured the willingness of study participants to obey an authority figure who instructed them to perform acts that conflicted with their personal conscience. They went on to impart lethal doses of electricity (as they believed to do) to some other participants just because they were deciding under authority. There are interesting videos available in Youtube which you can check.

We can project this authority beyond science. Religion is one. Market in another. Media is yet another. From small to profound we rely on authority almost obsessively for making decisions and yet think that our decisions are free and independent. If we need a reference for making decision, we should be seeking help from authenticity and not authority and they are different. Authority is beyond question, it regulates where as authenticity is free to be tested and it creates trust.

What leads us to decide – authority or authenticity?

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Closing Statement from Pabitra Mukhopadhyay

It seems that we take help of both authority and authenticity to decide things. It may not even be an either/or choice as the question seeks to see decision making as. At times we can find authority and authenticity merging and at other times, at the very fringes of human choice the decision making may be so spontaneous that our sub-conscious plays a vital role. Moreover, our decision making process works over a range of our faculty, our brain conserves resources/neuronic energy while decision making.

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    Apr 10 2013: Todays TED.com talk is especially relevant. I saw it live at TEDxRiodelaPlata and loved it! Worth watching!

    http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_ariely_what_makes_us_feel_good_about_our_work.html
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      Apr 10 2013: I agree with you Jose today's talk was great!!
      I would like to contribute the following :
      http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_ariely_asks_are_we_in_control_of_our_own_decisions.html
      ~Regards.
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        Apr 11 2013: Suppose there are 10 different routes from your home to office. Say, your boss, a very wise, intelligent and clever person tells you to take only one particular route everyday. What will you do Juliette?
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          Apr 11 2013: When I feel my boss is "a very wise, intelligent and clever person"....then I'd feel fortunate to have the benefit of their guidance.
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        Apr 12 2013: Dear Juliette, I see that you have used the word 'feel' twice :) So you will not accept your boss as a very wise, intelligent and clever person just because Pabitra says so.
        Cheers!!
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          Apr 13 2013: .....my wise friend PM's advice would weigh into my decision....and probably heavily.. since (I feel ;-) PM is a kind hearted, deep thinker with a genuine sense of concern for the betterment of life for all humanity....
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        Apr 14 2013: Hmm. I really appreciated the big hug :) before it vanished! Can there be a scholarly discussion on how fondness grows, my friend? :D
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          Apr 15 2013: :)Thank you!!
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        Apr 15 2013: Juliette Zhan
        Certainly can
        Make the heart glow

        Feeling or reason
        Seems in the season
        What matters is flow

        In appreciation. This off topic post will be removed in 24 hours.
        Edited. Decision changed. Comment stays. Reader's discretion requested.
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          Apr 15 2013: :)Thank you!!

          p.s. It's all on topic..its authenticity in action...and it is phenomenal to register it through mere electrons and transcend geography...you see...authenticity is boundless (unlike authority)...I'd say this is an infinitely better use of electronics, time, etc.iMO

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