Syllogism (A is B and B is C. then A is C) sounds obvious but often people don’t realize it. The book Kluge written by Gary Marcus brings up the concept of “kluge”. In the book, Marcus argues that the human brain is not optimized for the modern world and is instead a “kluge” of different evolutionary adaptations that do not always work well together. He suggests that understanding these limitations can help us design better technologies and systems that work more effectively with the human brain. Additionally, Marcus provides examples of how we can work around these limitations, through techniques such as mindfulness and cognitive training.
Yes, sounds full of lessons. But what is the take-away in my life? Human has evolved over long time. Our brain has evolved on top of old brains. hindbrain -> midbrain -> forebrain is the sequence. It happened evolution is not like refactoring codes. While one creature evolves, one still needs to survive in the current life. That’s why in 21st century, when GPT creates article, Stable diffusion creates arts, and Agtech improve food production, we still follow our instinct from million years ago.
In old times, taking risk was directly related to one’s life. Because everyone has only one life, so those took the risk could not survive. Technically, we are decendents of cowards.
In 21st century, it is different. One can take risk such as changing careers and building own business, but one still doesn’t die. There are definitely more chances to try, but people are reluctant to execute because of their brain designed million years ago.
How to refactor our brain? It is the reason I introduced syllogism. Let me make a simple example. A brain is a muscle. Muscle can be trained by
- repeating the same task (in bodybuilding, 4-6 repetition)
- increasing the level of task gradually (in bodybuilding, try to improve 1RM every week. Also, work out different routine.)
- having enough sleep and nutrients (in bodbuilding, +7 hours of sleeping and 1.5*body weights of protein)
So, it is concluded that the brain can be trained even when you are old. It is true that muscle can be trained faster in young age, but still there’s big potential to improve in not young ages.
What’s the right strategy to improve brain follwing the 3 key points?
- read books (you can communicate with one of the most brilliant person in history)
- write essays (your brain is challenged to proactively think and organize randomly scattered thoughts)
- having enough sleep and nutrients (sleeping is key to convert your short-term-memory to long-term-memory)
Everytime we face how to get better in xyz, in the end, the solution is often obvious. I feel like I already knew. That’s right. The only difference is, you do it and challenge it or not. This is again the theory of kluge.
Let’s train your brain from now.