Daniel Kahneman

You can not help dealing with the limited information you have as if it were all there is to know.  You build the best possible story from the information available to you, and if it is a good story, you believe it. Paradoxically, it is easier to construct a coherent story when you know little, when there are fewer pieces to fit in the puzzle.  Our comforting conviction that the world makes sense rests on a secure foundation: our almost unlimited ability to ignore our ignorance.

From Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

HKO comments:

I frequently return to the question of how the intelligent can make so such big errors in judgement. Daniel Kahneman makes a large leap in this quest in his book.

Even the brightest among us are not immune from biases and emotional reaction.  But Kahneman also notes that the brightest are often led astray by man’s tendency to statistical ignorance.

We tend to accept lies that give us comfort. Emotional response is part of our decision making process and often enhances better decisions, but it can lead us to accept explanations as correct before they are complete.

This comfort that incomplete explanations gives us can be the comfort of knowing we are right. Perhaps this is the crux of our partisanship.  Partisans were quick to accept an explanation of the financial collapse that is proving much less true as we distance ourselves from the event with time and more information.  The policies enacted in the wake of the collapse may be based on a story that satisfied ideologues but did not accurately describe the situation.

These policies need to be reconsidered.