Cognitive Pearl #062 Nisan 28, 5775 April 17, 15

This may sound a bit off topic but we need to talk about this Schlissel Challa business. It’s a lot more connected to cognitive therapy than meets the eye. (For those who want more information on this custom click here and here.) We rationalists tend to look down on such ‘segulot’, lucky charms, and amulets. This negativity however is so misplaced! In fact, it usually backfires in the worst ways because in its hubris, it fails to recognize that the rational and the scientific all have their limits. Arthur Schopehnauer told us that ‘Every man takes the limits of his own field of vision for the limits of the world’. (Actually it was God who told Job the same thing but Schopenhauer sounds better.) Or as Taleb reminds us again and again, we are easily and dangerously seduced into the falling hook, line, and sinker for the vivid, failing to consider the undetectables. Segulot remind us that as much as we think we’ve figured the world out, there is still so much that we don’t know and can’t know. And that’s great news especially for us joy freaks! It means that we’re surrounded by mystery; it means that life will never be boring. 

That’s it for now. I’ve gotta go stick a key in the challah. 

Shabbat Shalom to all!