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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 20 2012: Hi Eric,

    It's a good question.

    to get at your your question, one has to get an understanding of what "opinion", "understanding' and "know" mean.
    And indeed - what is the sand in which lines are drawn.
    The question goes to the heart of "what is learning in the first place?"

    Your goal is to address what you call "mental inertia" - and you are so right to identify the individual "world view" as having something to do with it.

    Although not easy to visualise, these issues are all related to the same thing: adaptation.
    Every organism has the capacity to sense its environment and react to it in an advantageous way. I call these dynamics "sense" and "change" - they occur in the physical domain.
    But in beween these dynamics is a potential. This potential is not in the observable physical domain.
    For the physical I use the word "universe", and for the potential I use "metaverse".
    The boundaries between the universe and the metaverse I call "perception" and "agency".
    The metaverse is concerned with adaptation - the conformance of change to change itself.
    This works at a number of levels - each level working on shorter and shorter adaptive timeframes.
    From simple chemical reactions to codifications such as DNA to complex topologies such as a brain to complex super-organism dynamics.
    We participate in the latter 2.
    All these things require a concept of "self" - because it is the self that forms the definition of waht it is that adapts - you can think of it as an attractive "centre" that defines the "advantage" that it requires to persist in the face of change.
    For our purposes, we have an incredibly swift adaptive system that includes a massive neural complex.
    Neural systems are subject to a problem - local minima.
    Adaptation requires only advantage - this does not require absolutes - and is therefore tollerant of error (assumptions)
    This is the source of cognitive dissonance and mental inertia.
    To overcome these dissonances - accept that learning, like change, never stops
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      Aug 20 2012: Hi Mitch. Sometimes a post makes me click on a user's profile to see more about them. This happened just now, and I feel an affinity to your persona. It was a fascinating post. Thanks, Eric
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        Aug 20 2012: Thanx Eric - anyone who has a Jullia set as an avatar is a friend of mine ;)

        It's always difficult to cut-to-the-chase in 200o characters when it takes at least that long to define the premise.
        I was going to expand on the association between the local minimum in a neural system .. and what assumption actually is, why it is essential, how it relates to error and noise fields, and how the word "opinion" does not include test of assumptive noise component. Nor did I go into the fractal stratification of perceptive fields over adaptive timeframes and noise-reduction strategies.

        I wanted to do that, but I intuit you have already have a pretty good idea ;)

        For the audience, and sheer bloody-mindedness, I'll point out that notions of "mind" and "soul" all fall into the realm of topology. It is topology that governs both space and metaspace. To me, that is more wonderful than any spiritual insight ever uttered. There are a growing number of people who are beginning to realise this, and it's nice to qietly participate in the wholesale demolition of obsoleted paradigms :)
        The bredth and depth of is is staggering.

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