Free Your Mind: Escaping The Mental Prison Of Cognitive Bias

As Emerson said, “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” People who cannot admit that they were wrong, turn their minds to stone, turn their brains off, and turn themselves into functional idiots. The intelligent response to a conflict or discrepancy between new evidence and our pre-existing beliefs, is to modify or change our beliefs, in light of the new evidence. This is basic empiricism, the foundation of science. It is also the foundation of basic sanity. But this is NOT how most people live – including most scientists, academics and intellectuals. Most people instead screen out any evidence that conflicts with their existing beliefs, in order to preserve their beliefs at all costs. That is called cognitive bias. And that, is mass insanity. That is how witch hunts, crusades, inquisitions, holy wars, and fascism happen.

Most people filter information in such a way that when there is a conflict between new evidence and their existing beliefs, they will screen out the new evidence, habtually, unconsciously and autmomatically, in order to preserve their pre-existing beliefs. Of course, that is irrational, self-defeating, self-blinding, and insane. This common, and truly pandemic human weakness, is known in psychology as cognitive bias. It is also a good working definition of what I call, functional stupidity.

Functional stupidity is a condition wherein otherwise naturally intelligent, basically intelligent, or innately intelligent people (the vast majority), refuse to use their innate, natural intelligence (by choosing comfort over truth) and thereby turn themselves into functional idiots. They also make themselves into easily manipulated pawns for sociopathic elites who are interested only in power.

So how do we break out of the straight jacket, the mental blinders, shackles, prison and chains? Here are some key tools to pick the locks that keep you imprisoned.

Read deeply, and also widely.

Listen – attentively, receptively, with an open mind, and reflectively – to people with different views than you.

Reflect deeply on everything of significance. Put down the digital crack – unplug, and take at least an hour a day to reflect; or else prepare to be functionally brain dead, deluded and deceived for the rest of your life. Especially if you believe yourself to be well-educated, an expert, or highly informed!

Evaluate new information and new perspectives based on a careful examination of the logic and evidence! Do not dismiss new evidence or different perspectives simply because they don’t fit with your existing beliefs! Consider them carefully, based on a thoughtful consideration of reasoning and evidence!

Above all, question everything – especially your social norm, your social group, your culture and society, and all forms of social authority or presumed “expert” opinion.

Even more importantly, and most essentially, question whether what you believe, and what you think you know with certainty, is actually true at all.

Question all assumptions: that is the core antidote to social conditioning, to mass indoctrination, to propaganda, to cognitive bias – and to functional stupidity, which is what cognitive bias is, and which is THE NORM.

You can only be an idiot by refusing to question your assumptions. Question all assumptions, and free your mind.

*

Truth requires unlearning more than learning. Knowledge, understanding, wisdom and truth, require above all, a peeling away of illusions. Question everything.

Rule one is, pay attention.

Rule two is, question everything.

Rule three is, practice compassion, always.

Rule four is, practice courage, always – including the courage to pursue the truth, wherever it may lead!

Truth and love are the greatest powers. And to be clear, I do not mean mere sentimentality. I mean, truth and compassion, are the greatest powers. But if we value our personal comfort over either truth or compassion, then we are simply being selfish and cowardly.

As Gandhi said, “Cowards can never be moral.” Now is the time for courage. Without courage, we will have no true compassion, and we will also fear and shun the truth – in order to preserve our own sense of comfort. And without both compassion, and a fearless seeking and speaking of the truth, we are lost, and it is a dark age of tyranny and mass delusions ahead.

Courage, compassion, truth: these are the central tools we need to build a better world; or even, to be simply and truly sane.

JTR,

August 11, 2021

2 Responses to “Free Your Mind: Escaping The Mental Prison Of Cognitive Bias”

  1. jtoddring Says:

    Like

  2. jtoddring Says:

    Like

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