Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The Power of Correct Observation

I want to talk about something that I believe is one of the biggest obstacles to us solving our world. It can also be the biggest asset to help us to solve our world.

The way we make decisions and changes in our lives is based on our opinions, beliefs, views, and ideas of how we think our life should be. These are the first things that need to change for us to be able to make a change in our lives. We aren’t going to change unless we have first thought of the thing we want to change and decide that it’s something worth changing.

The way we change our ideas of how our life should be is by observation.

We observe everything around us. People, places, ideas, thoughts. Anything that we pick up through our senses is what we are observing.

So you can imagine that if we are not observing the world very well, we are going to have a hard time learning new things and experimenting with what we want our lives to be like.

But it gets worse than that.

If we observe the world incorrectly, we may make incorrect decisions and making more problems for ourselves even as we are thinking like we are doing what is best.

I feel like I’ve heard a quote (that I can’t find! Someone help!) that says something like, “The worst thing isn’t an evil person doing evil. It is a good person, thinking they are doing good, but are doing evil.”

If your observation is skewed, even if you aren’t doing “evil” things, you might be hurting yourself or others unintentionally, and I think this is happening more often than not.

I don’t think this is a problem we can solve in our lifetime, but like most things we talk about here it is all about mindset and getting our “percentages” up. If we can go from 10% to 50%, that will help a lot.

So let's dig a little deeper...

Mental Filters

Every second of every day we are observing millions of pieces of information through our senses. This is much too much information for our conscious mind to handle. So our subconscious is what actually sifts through this information and decides what to pass on to our conscious mind.

For ease of discussion I am going to call the way our subconscious decides what to pass on and what not to, mental filters.

Our subconscious mind makes these filters for us over time by learning what our conscious mind wants to know. This is how we view the world, through our mental filters.

If we have a filter that is not correct for whatever reason, we will be looking at an incorrect version of the world.

You can think of this as looking through colored glasses. Everything is tinted that color and if we were making important decisions based on the color of the world, we would be making a lot of mistakes.

Examples of this could include religious beliefs, political beliefs, racial stereotypes, all forms of discrimination, strongly held opinions, science... the list goes on and on. Really it is everything.

Confirmation Bias

This problem is greatly enhanced by confirmation bias.

Confirmation bias occurs when we interpret new information as evidence of our existing beliefs and values. This entrenches us in our current mental filters making them stronger and stronger.

Let’s go back to the glasses analogy.

If we are looking through green tinted glasses, we believe the sky is green. Every time we look at the sky we can see that it is green. When other people tell us that the sky is blue we shrug it off as ignorance or argue and try to convince the person the error of their ways. The worst part is, we have friends and family that also have green tinted glasses and we all reinforce each other's’ views and making fun of the “blue sky conspiracy.”

Changing our Filters

So how do we change our filters? If our whole world is tainted how do we even know that we have incorrect filters?

We need to assume that we have tainted filters and start to look for clues that will tell us what our filters are.

Do you notice that maybe that wall that is supposed to be white has a little greenish tint? Maybe your filter is tainted green.

Once you recognize that you have the filter you can start to change it to be more correct.

This is where pride starts getting in the way.

None of us want to be wrong

Sometimes we start thinking that we might have a tainted filter but we have spent so long defending it that it can be hard to admit we were wrong for so long.

Remember! The goal in life is not to be right all the time!

The goal is to discover truth! How the world really works! Natural Laws!

Then after discovering them, trying to follow them to get the most out of our short lives.

Are we going to let our tainted filters stop us from reaching our full potential?! From experiencing the most joy we possibly can in our lives?! Just so we can act smart or superior and keep our pride intact?

I’ll leave that choice up to you. But I think if we can all start to examine our subconscious mind a little closer and start to find these filters that are skewing our view of the world and holding us back, we can get a little closer to solving our world.