Analyzing my SUPERFREAKONOMICS Brain

My lovely boyfriend loaned me SUPERFREAKONOMICS: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance in hopes that I would get a better understanding of the mindset of an economist when certain decisions are made (that really just piss me off). And I’m really glad he shared it with me! I did not give the book 5 stars because it has convinced me — even through all of its knowledgeable sources — that the authors may not be credible on every issue, but the beautiful thing about the book and why it deserved 4 stars is because of the authors’ ability to put as many options and examples in the pages as possible without going overboard. It brought me a new way of thinking. A form of thinking I should have gotten in college, but didn’t. I made a profound discovery while reading this story: I was narrow-minded in college.

Photo courtesy of www.npr.org.

Photo courtesy of www.npr.org.

Sounds odd, right? Usually,  you learn more about yourself and the rest of the world while attending college, but unfortunately for me, I couldn’t get myself to look beyond what was fed to me in class. For example, if I learned something in class that struck a chord of anger, disgust or frustration, I soaked it in without allowing myself to process the information or rationally decide on the best solution through my own analysis. I relied too much on the first answer I received from a professor or whomever was willing to give me any sort of peace of mind.

When I really think about it, journalism played a big role in that. Yes, I was supposed to be neutral with all my stories, and I was as much as possible, but when learning about a subject foreign to you, you rely on your research to get started, yes, but majority of what you learn comes from your sources. And if you’ re only interviewing a minimum of three “experts” on any given subject, your article still lacks all possibilities.

It didn’t help that journalism students had to take a little bit of everything for good measure. I understood and respected that for the sake of becoming a well-rounded person, but I hated and turned my mind off in classes like philosophy and microeconomics because it made it difficult to stick with my own, poorly created ideas about the world. It was almost like a barrier keeping my brain from exploring more possibilities. Plus, I just hated the subject and held no interest for it at the time.

And I’m not just talking political ideas. So, I’m not saying I shouldn’t have leaned so far toward the left or right, but that I should have come to terms with both sides and made my own educated decision. I had convinced myself that I was moderate, but I wasn’t. Moderate doesn’t necessarily mean that you agree with Republicans here and Democrats there. My decisions should not have been made off of those thoughts at all. I leaned one way or the other depending on the subject and focused more on which way I was leaning than which path was appropriate to find critical answers or at least a rocky, personal research path to follow.

But politics aside, I realized my own short comings towards the end of the book when global warming was discussed. I knew most of the facts from an “Ecosphere in Crisis” class that I took in college, but the solutions that some of the scientists were coming up with were plausible but outrageous and I’d never heard about them before — even in that class. I instantly thought about how I would have taken this information in college. Most likely, I would have taken all of the ideas, picked the main argument, and said:

“This is the best solution to fight global warming. All others are wrong.”

But what my brain says now is: “That is absolutely insane. What happens if this happens? Then what will they do? This solution can’t be reversed if something goes awry. And while I understand that global warming may not be entirely affected by this, I still believe that it should not be ignored and all culprits should be examined.”

And most importantly, I was thinking: “What other options are there? Is there a greener, more realistic, less drastic option? If so, what is it and what are the consequences?”

Why has it taken me so long to get here? To use my brain in this way? It is almost as if I was too immature for certain college courses.

Next round (graduate school, god willing ), I hope to use my brain to the best of its ability; and, yes, there will be a next time because I have my heart set on it. I want to ask the right questions and consider all of the answers this time. And maybe there isn’t going to be a true answer to any of my questions, but at least I will be able to accept/recognize that and not stick to the first answer that comes my way even if it is incorrectly being executed. More research is always to be done.

It’s amazing how much one can learn of oneself from a single book. Ah, the beauty of reading.

What are your thoughts?