Pursuing the chimera of “Big Data,” means little in the face of human irrationality and unpredictability when the impact of emotions is removed from the analysis.

Emotions are everywhere, and all around us, driving our reactions to events, our desires to record and document those events, and our drives to connect with each other.

But there is little appreciation of the impact of emotions, as the explanations for people’s individual and corporate reactions to conflicts and strife, have been reduced to little more than economic reasoning (Marxism), or scientific surety (Darwin, et.al).

Neither of which explain the passion of emotions, the irrationality of people at mass, or the unpredictability of human reactions. We desire this predictability (or at least governments and corporations do) to control and direct desirable outcomes; not to grow and enlighten people about themselves.

Instead of gathering ever more data points, arguing ever louder about whose facts are more truthful, or dismissing ideas that we believe are irrational, maybe instead, it’s time to do a deep dive into the oldest of all drivers of conflict in human beings:

  • Envy
  • Anger
  • Lust
  • Gluttony
  • Greed
  • Sloth
  • Pride

They used to be called sins.

But in an era of economic causation, and fetishized data gathering, we dismiss the power of ancient drivers, psychological and otherwise, at our continued peril.

3 Comments

  • Jack says:

    . Great post. To paraphrase a phrase from the 90’s “It’s the sin, stupid!”

  • Nasha Taylor says:

    Right on. And may we not look upon the “sins” of another but take a deeper dive into our thoughts. So many of us have a coping and compensating relationship with our “6 basic fears”, as Napoleon Hill describes in Think and Grow Rich, that we are operating unconsciously in ways that are undermining or disrupting our natural well-being. He says “Nature has endowed man with absolute control over but one thing, and that is thought.” I’ve found value in building my self-awareness, and it requires forgiveness.

    • Hi Nasha-

      Thanks for reading and commenting. Gaining self-awareness (along with intentionality and vulnerability) will be the most integral leadership tools in the 21st century. My worry is that too many people are chalking up too much to scientism and economic factors, and not enough to psychology and other long-term drivers deep within the human heart–and soul…