It is good to be all in one place, many people rarely are.

Our Pattern of Engaging in Cognitive Bias

Cognitive Bias

Human beings are not naturally “rational” creatures. We will not compromise our sense of our personal wellbeing, usually in favor of having highly accurate data. In the case of my own disorder, my brains inability to screen incoming sensory input for relevant data is even crippling, compromises competent daily function. As my wife says, I just don’t track some things. I do well to track what I can manage.

What keeps us from being rational?

Emotions? Well, simple practicality. It just isn’t practical to consider everything from a factual point of view.

If you look for a logical reason you should survive, you won’t find one, but you do what it takes to survive anyway however well you accomplish that. In fact, I read an essay that was a man’s suicide note. He wrote a long elaborate and well balanced discourse on nihilism, then went and stood on the steps of his community church, put a gun to his head and blew his own brain out. We have unrealistic opinions about everything in our world, we need to.

I feel bad for the janitor. I myself do not feel bad for the janitor. It was a rare opportunity for him to consider the relevance and meaning of his own work in a very visceral and immediate way.

So, our entire pattern of engaging the world, our natural pattern, is irrational, bent, biased, but because our perception and thought are biased, does that simply mean we are all delusional?

Only when you don’t allow your biases to change along with the world. Excellent, you bring up an important point in today’s topic of Cognitive Bias and Metaphysical Geometry. Heuristic algorithms fail to adequately model human behavior. They can’t account for the human tendency toward altruism, cooperation, the desire to organize and place faith in groups or institutions. There’s no rational, logical reason for us to do this. It requires subordination of our personal interests in favor of what is often an abstract and even physically empty goal. I say physically empty because the goal is nothing more than supporting a concept that has no concrete basis in material reality. Like the concept of the economy, say, there is also a negative vector it carries. We develop discouraging, even punitive cultural biases because at some time in human history a certain course of action had negative consequences, and we have no basis for examining and updating these.

I saw a show about a guy who wrote algorithms showing that altruism is genetically passed on because it is a superior survival tool. Then he spent the rest of his life trying to disprove his work, so he gave everything away and dies homeless and penniless. Yes, experience is everything.

Have I wandered too far afield so far? Does this more or less summarize cognitive bias in the face of an objective or existential world?

I’ve noticed people’s inability to update their views on health, for example. Recent studies show sodium is not connected to heart disease but people hold strongly to the belief it is. Some still feel guilty when they think they’ve had too much sodium. Those most ardently subscribed to it also have had not even a hint of high blood pressure or heart disease. Anxiety over its possible effects can trigger placebo tension though.

Once these ideas take hold, facts cannot displace them easily. They call that particular phenomenon, investment bias. The more emotion you have put into a belief, the more likely you are to ignore future information that disproves it. We have that bias for a reason. Under normal circumstances the two things that would foster such emotion would be mortal danger and filial bonding. So remaining invested in the sense that you love your family is important, and remaining invested in the idea that that predator will try to eat you is also important. At the time, there was no real grounds to reconsider those notions.

What if your family tries to eat you? Danger takes precedence over filial bonds usually. Self-preservation serving as the bottom line, as they say. This is why some species that are otherwise tightly bonded occasionally eject members of their group. That individual has developed a habit that makes them register as dangerous to the group, usually abnormal aggression.

Your thoughts are welcome. Be well friends.

Travis Saunders
Dragon Intuitive

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