Let’s focus on Botticelli and Tversky


I was dreading waking up today morning and reading all the terrible news about Delhi riots. But, thanks to a wonderful suggestion on Facebook by a brilliant and thoughtful professor – Dr. Vijayabhaskar Marisetty, at the University of Hyderabad who is a great painter himself, it’s going to be a wonderful day!! He suggested that all of us should stop thinking about politics for some time and instead focus on “art”, and he assigned me the Italian Master “Sandro Botticelli” (1445 – 1510) who is a master of mythological scenes. This is one of his most famous paintings “The Birth of Venus” which is in the Uffizzi gallery in Florence, Italy. It depicts the Goddess of Love – Venus arriving at the shore after her birth when she had emerged from the sea fully-grown.

Initially, I didn’t like his suggestion because I was simmering with anger and sadness at what’s going on and wanted to focus on my negative feelings, but now I realize the wisdom in his words. Especially, since I’m reading up on SocialMedia, FakeNews, etc. and already know a lot about it. This idea will beat the intent of those vested interests (whoever they might be) who are deliberately causing all this trouble and occupying our minds with negativity – so that they can profit from it.

Do you know that Fake News travels many times faster than truthful news on the Internet and social media? That’s because fake news is crafted at leisure with ample imagination, using all the tricks, without having any constraints like the truth and actual facts, and it turns out to be more persuasive and appealing than the truth. (I’m not making this up, I follow a guy called Tristan Harris who has made it his mission to expose Fake News and the dubious happenings in media & social media). I’m planning to write about it in detail in my book. Please do follow him on Twitter and other media.

In addition, I’d like to introduce you to one more point apart from Italian paintings and Botticelli – the “availability heuristic” 🙂 🙂

“Heuristics and Biases” that lead to faulty judgments and decisions are common knowledge among management, and psychology Ph.D. students and scholars, but I believe that in today’s world, everyone needs to be aware of them. Media most commonly exploits these weaknesses of ours. Heuristics are shortcuts that our brain uses to make judgments in the interest of time.

Thanks to the “availability heuristic”, we give utmost importance to the stuff that has top of the mind recall in the brain. For example, news that is shown 24/7. Didn’t you wonder why the same news, focusing only on one tiny portion of a country, one small locality in a city, is repeated again and again and again? Why don’t they show you other news and happenings as well (more logical right?) – both positive and negative? – To trick your brain into believing that nothing but this is happening all over the country 24/7, because that becomes your “top of mind recall” right now. So please, stop, and check if you are falling prey to the “availability heuristic”, and once you realize that you are – smile to yourself, be brave, and focus on art, or music, or whatever else you might love. Have a Wonderful Day!!  🙂  🙂

Hope you like the painting! Look up some more of Botticelli’s art on Google today – art and beauty are better options to focus on……… please flood your social media with positive news to counter the negative and fake news in the country right now. Ban the divisive words “Hindu” or “Muslim” from your vocabulary, and spread communal harmony. 🙂 Thank you!!

Availability: A heuristic for judging frequency and probability; A Tversky, D Kahneman – Cognitive psychology, 1973.

PS: Image of Venus, courtesy Wikipedia. To see the full painting, please Google it 😉

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