The Detectability of Ideas

Have you ever thought why we only need to remind kids to eat vegetables/broccolis,

but not ice-cream, for example?

There is a deeper insight to be extracted from this question.

There are certain processes in the human approach,

that require more effort and demand to do & remind people of,

but despite that effort, they’re necessary (broccolis),

and other processes, on the other hand, come organically to us without effort to do or be reminded of (ice-creams).

Now there are a lot of reminders out there in the world about ice-creams, but not enough about broccolis.

A good example that I really like to think about when it comes to this,


  1. thinking about consequences on yourself & your circle when making decisions (ice-cream),


  1. thinking about consequences on others when making decisions (broccolis).

So, when making decisions,

we’ll think of ourselves in any case, because the self is so proximal to us and we can detect the effects on it very easily (that’s the effortless ice-cream),

but what we constantly need to remind ourselves of is how the projections/actions we do, or have, affect other people, and the external world, by extension (the broccoli).

so to apply our analogy, practically,

we need the broccoli, to be emphasized more,

to balance that natural individualistic proclivity of human consciousness, i.e. the ice-cream.

The reason why this is important is because a lot of the times,

the “ice-cream” of an individualistic thought process is emphasised, in the form,

“Put yourself first.”


“as long as you’re happy, that’s what’s matter.”

But that only amplifies the already omni-detectable ice-cream, which needs less emphasis,

and dwarfs the broccoli,
which needs more emphasis,

even though the “ice-cream” is important in this context, and we are not taking that away,

but the emphasis on the broccoli here, is because it’s less detected by our psyche & wiring,

and requires, by definition, for reasons we aforementioned, to have more effort to be done/reminded of,

given the conditions of humans in this context.

An Analogy Of Detection Not importance:

It’s good to emphasize the point that the broccoli/ice-cream distinction,

is not really a categorization of which one is more important,

as the nature of this example might imply,

but both of them can be equally important, in some deep important way,

but it only goes to say, that the broccoli actually needs more people/parts of the consciousness,

rooting on its side, to be noticed,

than an ice-cream phenomena, if that makes sense.

Which goes to say that, the individual when making decisions, in our previous example,

is not necessarily less important than “the external world” (if they’re even separable in the 1st place),

it’s just that the external world requires more effort to be detectable by us,

which by extension informs the fact that it needs to be emphasized more based on this observation,

not merely because of its importance.


So we can extract from this that,

emphasising on something is not really only based on it’s importance,

as is usually purported,

but also, its detectability & how much it’s in the perception of different agents.

And approaching problems & the ideas different philosophies push forward, from this angle,

actually gives a very much needed layer of complexity,

which might put more things into perspective.

Credits to the great psychologist, Keith Stanovich, for planting the seeds for this article...

To receive my newly published articles, please share your E-mail here (The only thing sent to your E-mail will be the link to blog posts, the date, and the title):

* indicates required