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Wired for Survival: The Rational (and Irrational) Choices We Make, from the Gas Pump to Terrorism by Margaret M. Polski

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4Thinking in the Wild

“The poem of the mind is the act of finding what will suffice.”

From “Of Modern Poetry” by Wallace Stevens

More often than not, we think and choose intuitively, our bodies and brains responding like weather vanes to sensory and social cues in our environment. Influencing and being influenced by what is going on around us, we address our circumstances as best we can with as little effort as possible, relying for the most part on past experience and familiar associations.

One of the clearest examples of this intuitive interaction between our minds, bodies, and environment occurs when we face a threat to our survival. Consider the situation that security troops confront when they are ordered to establish a base in a community ...

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