How Only Using Logic Destroyed a Man’s Life — Science of Us

This led Damasio to formulate what might be his great contribution to the understanding of the brain (and the human body): what he calls the somatic (as in body) marker hypothesis. Essentially, he reasons, when you’re thinking about a course of action, you imagine your body to be in the potential situation, and you get, in layman’s terms, a “good” or “bad” feeling about it. It’s not that right decisions come from that sort of feeling alone, but, Damasio argues, those “somatic markers” filter away lots of alternatives; they’re a shortcut to decision-making. While Elliot’s landscape of potential realities all had “flat” values, healthy people weigh the potential outcomes that are left after “somatic markers” filter the other possibilities out.As Damasio said in a later interview, wisdom, if you choose to accept it, is what happens when you accrue lots of somatic knowledge in your life: If you’ve been through lots, then you know how you would feel in a wide variety of situations, allowing you to make better decisions (and give, as one does, better advice). Therein lies the problem of the high-reason view: without the filtering provided by emotions and their somatic markers, the data sets for any given decision — whether it’s what to get for lunch or whom to marry — would be overwhelming. The working memory can only juggle so many objects at once. To make the right call, you need to feel your way — or at least part of your way — there.

Source: How Only Using Logic Destroyed a Man’s Life — Science of Us