Fools Rush In

An impulsive love story.

Fools Rush In

Fools Rush In is a lighthearted romantic comedy from the late 90's, featuring a skinny Matthew Perry early into his Friends glory days and the always ageless and elegant Salma Hayek as the starring leads. The plot can be somewhat inferred from the catchy title: boy meets girl and an impromptu fling turns into something more serious pretty quickly. The couple’s dynamic is that of the opposites attract variety, with Matthew as the stodgy dweeb construction manager and Salma as the charming Catholic who loves her overbearing family and follows her heart.

The Postal Service — Such Great Heights

As with any film, the plot includes obstacles and moments of doubt for the stars, with perhaps the pivotal moment coming by way of Salma’s religious inspiration. As a devout Catholic, she finds that when faced with a momentous choice, she chooses to decide not by reason and deduction but instead by looking for signs from above.

The idea that there is a higher power who even exists is controversial to some, but to extend it to that of a maker who actively engages with humanity in the present day is not even universally accepted amongst the devout. It is not extremely difficult to look to our surroundings and find inspirations for selecting a path, for the randomness of coincidences dictate that there will occasionally be some connection however remote. I would argue that finding such coincidences is the sign of a healthy brain which is actively looking for inspiration whether from our maker, from the universe, or from randomness itself. A pivotal error enters the picture when you fool yourself by assigning meanings and inferences to randomness. It’s one thing to find inspiration from your surroundings, another to outsource your decisions to the randomness — what I will go ahead and pen as the gypsy’s fallacy after those who who would try to read the tea leaves or the like. This style of reasoning quickly leads to the dead end road of a belief in fate. Just as there is no benefit to maintaining any outlook other than optimism, the belief in fate serves no purpose and is itself a form of surrender.

In his book “Thinking Fast and Slow” the psychologist Daniel Kahneman describes a framework for how we think based on two styles of reasoning: systems 1 and 2, with the system 1 style leaning towards instinctual, emotional, or reactionary decisions and the system 2 based along lines of logical deduction or slower paced analysis. Neither of these two styles of reasoning is superior — there are some types of problems where system 1 performs better than system 2 or vice versa, and it is actually a goal of those who try to become an expert in a field to transition a problem from system 2 territory to one they can handle with their system 1. I would cautiously argue that the gypsy fallacy approach might on some small occasions even be useful in the context of systems 1 thinking as a way to inject randomness into your decision making process, however I can think of no scenario where it could be of benefit in a system 2 train of thought.

A friend of mine from the land of internets (one who is occasionally prone to sharing unusual conspiracy theories on social media but otherwise seems fairly well adjusted), Jaffer Ali, has argued about maintaining balance between passion and logic, an argument which I think could be extended to apply to a systems 1 & 2 framework: “…so often if you want to succeed in business (as an example), you need to recognize the tension between reason and passion and not give way to one or the other. Over reliance on reason will make you sterile and often make you miss quirky, emergent opportunities. Surrender to passions without reason and you cut off your ear.”

Make the heart of this people calloused; make their ears dull and close their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed. — Isaiah 6:10

In the context of the fools’ movie, Salma acts as the system 1 dominant thinker and Matthew as the system 2. Fortunately (spoiler alert) there is a happy ending for the two. The stodgy dweeb finds his heart and the charming passionate one finds her grounding, a balance is reached, and all of their ears remain intact.

Iron and Wine — Such Great Heights

*For further readings please check out my Table of Contents, Book Recommendations, and Music Recommendations.

Books that were referenced here or otherwise inspired this post:

Thinking, Fast and Slow — Daniel Kahneman

Thinking, Fast and Slow

(As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.)

Albums that were referenced here or otherwise inspired this post:

Give Up — The Postal Service

Give Up

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

If you enjoyed or got some value from this post please press the 👏 button to increase visibility or even better say hello on Twitter at @_NicT_.

For further readings please check out my Table of Contents, Book Recommendations, and Music Recommendations.

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Nicholas Teague

Nicholas Teague

Writing for fun and because it helps me organize my thoughts. I also write software to prepare data for machine learning at automunge.com. Consistently unique.

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