Can’t Help Myself

The New York Times:

Human consciousness, that wonderful ability to reflect, ponder and choose, is our greatest evolutionary achievement. But it is possible to have too much of a good thing, and fortunately we also have the ability to operate on automatic pilot, performing complex behaviors without any conscious thought at all. One way this happens is with lots of practice. Tasks that seem impossibly complex at first, like learning how to play the guitar, speak a foreign language or operate a new DVD player, become second nature after we perform those actions many times (well, maybe not the DVD player). “If practice did not make perfect,” William James said, “nor habit economize the expense of nervous and muscular energy, he” (we, that is) “would therefore be in a sorry plight.”

Read the whole story: The New York Times

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