Thursday, 28 April 2011
The treasures of the mind
I'd like to take you on a journey. I need you to trust me. Ready? I'd like you to reflect on your most treasured value, a core principle or belief that frames the way you see the world. Got it? Good. How does it feel when somebody, for whatever reason, challenges it? I'm guessing that it feels uncomfortable, disquieting. It might cause you to feel anger towards the person making the challenge. Hold those feelings. What you are experiencing is something known as intellectual attribution bias. Put Simply, you do not want your most cherished beliefs undermined, and an internal defense mechanism kicks in. Have you ever found yourself reading the words of someone with whom you disagree? You might find yourself speed reading, skipping words. Same goes for when you are listening to a person whom you dislike. The reason for this is that we are pattern seekers, and our brains seek confirmation of those things we build our lives upon. So that's why you feel uneasy. But what now? Well you've probably identified the challenge. The question is simple; do you want to believe something because you want to believe it? Or because the consequence of doing otherwise is too much to contemplate? If it is the latter then I understand. I hear you, I really do. But, and this is so important; just because we feel something strongly is no guarantee that what we feel is true. We're all entitled to our own opinions; we're not entitled to our own facts. They stand independently, and they don't care what you think.