People have likely fought ideological battles since people could communicate with each other. We have grown in intellect, our knowledge of the world and made significant technological advances (though men accomplished things millennia ago that we still can’t understand), but has our nature changed much?
Ideological battles seem to be the basic stuff of which culture and society are made. At the lowest level, it’s “us against them”, and “we” protect our turf like our lives depend on it. We pick our turf, and we defend it: new against old; right against left; science against faith; and on and on.
These ideological battles can be, but don’t necessarily have to be, the stuff of racism, bias and ignorance. We need reference points and bases from which to operate and categorize and contextualize the world, but dogmatic, rigid adherence to our reference points block progress, even if we are “progressive”. The inability or unwillingness to remain open-minded limits our opportunities for advancement. Continue reading
Taking a step back from the clamor on social media, from the pundits and news sources, which have rarely been so vitriolic, righteous and passionate since the last presidential election, the more distant perspective gives me pause. One thing rings out to me as truth in the cacophony of disparate voices; it seems that everyone believes passionately that truth is truth, and truth is objective and people should know what truth is.
Yet, there is so much disagreement, and so many shades of disagreement. There is a virtual panoply of disagreement on all subjects, an almost infinite array of shades of disagreement even on matters on which some agreement can be found. But there is one common denominator.
The common denominator is that we all seem to believe that truth exists and that truth is objective. Continue reading
Confirmation bias is a phrase that has been become a popular way of challenging people who disagree with us. It might be used as a shield or a weapon in uncomfortable conversations… you know what I mean.
Once the confirmation bias phrase is deployed, the substance of any conversation is effectively deflected down the rabbit hole of who is or is not personally biased.
The funny thing is – we all have them. Biases I mean. We tend to be very aware of them, but not necessarily in ourselves. Most likely we aware of the biases (or what we think are biases) in others. Perhaps, less stridently, we are aware of our own.