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Eric Grovum

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What can we do to confront our own cognitive biases?

Everyone has a world view. We each have our own point of view that has been molded by our experiences, relationships, religious backgrounds, etc.

Sometimes, when we are confronted with an opinion that is in opposition to our world view, we experience cognitive dissonance, the uncomfortable feeling that creates a wall in our mind around the beliefs that we feel define our very selves. Sometimes we are wrong and have a hard time allowing new information to be considered. Sometimes we are right, but we think so for illogical or unsupported reasons.

What techniques work for you when you deal with these cognitive barriers? Or do you believe you are infallible? Socrates said in rough translation, "I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing."

Is it reasonable to look at things from new perspectives, or should we draw a line in the sand on certain issues?

My goal is to come to a truer understanding of my world, but it is a challenge to overcome mental inertia.


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    Aug 19 2012: I don't think the utopia you seek is possible in civilised nations. We have been bred, born and raised to be consumers. The paradigms constructed within our conscious and subconscious beings have been well thought out by those who have put in place our schools, churches, corporations, and courts. It is said that 97% of world population is clearly dysfunctional. We have been raised to relate to our surroundings with a type of mob-mentality. Nationalism is probably the most detrimental brainwahing we have endured.
    I think understanding the true place of human-beings in this universe would be first and foremost in acquiring the resolve you search for, and this is not going to happen as long as we have sworn our allegiance to the aforementioned institutions of civilised nations. It is commendable that you seek this better understanding of yourself, where you fit and who you wish to become, but honestly, there is no place in this nation for those aspirations. I know this is true, if it was not true then we would be doing more to protect all native and indigenous peoples, lands and streams all around the earth, rather than indirectly sponsoring, funding and supporting the genocides which the civilised nations all seem to endeavor. Until we protect the individuality of the least of us, our pursuits will never be protected.
    After all, come on.....we ALL know what these wars are about, don't we? Sure we do, but to know this and speak this seems to be out of our abilities, after all, we are obligated to our friends, families,churches, communities,schools, colleges, states, nations, military members, politicians etc., etc.
    The first step, is recognizing the truth in our fears, the truth in war, the truth in diversity, the truth in corporations....
    in our hearts.
    Only when we are able to obligate ourselves to the children and to the generations, yet unborn, will we ever be honest enough to really know ourselves, and in your words...to overcome our mental inertia.
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      Aug 19 2012: I'm only seeking a utopia in my own mind. The ability to find truths and understand how they interact, and to discover when my beliefs are based on bad information seems like the only way I can progress as a person and feel justified in having the opinions that I have.

      Thanks for your post. We see some of the same things, and are upset at the same injustices. There is a book you may be interested in called "The Empathic Civilization: The Race to Global Consciousness in a World in Crisis" by Jeremy Rifkin. I found it to be a very encouraging outlook on a possible future in which in group loyalty will expand to encompass all the people of the earth.



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