The vagaries of demand, particularly the amount of effort needed for self-initiated thought, explain the human weaknesses that Hitler mocked and exploited (see Self-awareness). Daniel Kahnemann (2011) in his book “Thinking, Fast and Slow” analyses the dualistic processing he terms “System 1” (automatically produced thought) and “System 2” (analytic serial processing). They represent two alternative forms of information processing. The availability and speed of automatic brain action gives the first primacy and almost irresistible force. The effort to engage System 2, or in Kahneman’s view the laziness to invoke it, explains the all-too-common failure to use its access to consciously directed analysis and action.

His research explains an enormous range of automatic thought that hampers individuals. In the mass it explains our susceptibility to demagogues. Closer to home Kahnemann reveals that the automatic invocation of System 1 gives pundits for stock picking credibility despite their easily detected failure. It explains why we bend to the “anchoring” clues deliberately fed to us by sales persons. It earns for frivolous litigants, who exploit a well-ingrained but invalid belief, unjustified gain. Our automatic reaction of loss aversion drives us on to persist with failing ventures, hold on to failing stocks and impel groups such as Hitler’s Third Reich to fight on to ruinous defeat. I will explore in these posts some further consequences in psychiatry and the law.