Susan Boyle, Gay Marriage, and Not Trusting Your Gut

by Jay Michaelson | The Huffington Post

By now, both the story of Susan Boyle — the unlikely record-holder for most YouTube views during a single week — and the moral(s) of that story are well-known to all of us who follow sites such as this one. Her rendition of “I Dreamed a Dream” on the television show Britain’s Got Talent can still knock our socks off (here’s the link in case you’ve missed it), and, yes, we have now been reminded that you can’t judge a book by its cover, that even not-so-attractive people over forty may still be wonderful, et cetera.

Trouble is, we always judge a book by its cover. That’s what covers are for. As Malcolm Gladwell reminded us all in Blink, and how teams of neurologists and psychologists have shown, we human beings excel at snap judgments, and at decisions so intuitive we don’t even know we’ve made them. This talent has, over the aeons, ensured our survival in a perilous world. If our caveman ancestors had to think about whether that hairy beast over there is friend or foe, they’d get eaten.

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