Most of us just want to be right; "Of course my NFL team is better than yours, my political views are correct and the multivitamin I'm taking makes me healthier." It is very simple to surround myself with others that think exactly like you do...confirmation bias. I can't be wrong if everyone I interact with believes in my concepts and beliefs. The three most difficult words to say are not, "I love you." Try saying the following today..."I don't know." Can I honestly get through the day and know everything?
Confirmation bias makes life simple. There is nothing to push back upon me. Think of it as zero gravity. There are usually 3-6 crew members on the International Space Station. The astronauts maintain the space station and conduct a variety of science experiments. But the human body is not adapted to zero gravity. The body begins to deteriorate when there is very little to no resistance. The crew members spend up to 3 hours imposing resistance upon their bodies to reduce the muscle atrophy and bone loss. My body and thoughts requires stress for maintenance of health. And imposing stress and resistance on my body is never fun.
Confirmation bias is zero gravity for my thoughts and beliefs. Whose to say that my thoughts and solutions to societal problems are correct. Maybe, I'm wrong. I should say, "I don't know," more often. I'm working on imposing stress and resistance on my beliefs by attempting to listen to those with differing views and opinions. I should listen to other's views and have an open and honest conversation that will impose stress upon my beliefs because resistance makes me stronger and resilient.
And by the way...if an other individual has made an excellent argument for their position I would then be able to say the other difficult three word sentence..."Maybe I'm wrong." Now that is the definition of maturity, empathy and love. But heck, what do I know...I'm just Joe.
I'm a scientist by training which makes me pragmatic. This means review data and evidence to come up with a answer or conclusion to a question or claim. Neil deGrasse Tyson said it beautifully; "The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it." How should individuals, communities solve problems? Unfortunately we often use feelings as solutions. We allow "feelings" to get in our way.
The state of California has a growing number of homeless individuals living on our sidewalks and bike paths. How will California fix this problem...? "Let's build them homes." Of course we should build homes in the state with highest land value and greatest amount of bureaucracy in the US. Building homes in California for the homeless will not go over budget and construction will meet all deadlines. Providing homes for the homeless is the prefect solution to the problem because the word, "home" is in homeless. Do we truly want to help the homeless or are we simply doing something because it feels like the right thing to do.
Feelings are all crap. Feelings blur the how we should truly attack problems. The only feeling that should be taken into consideration is LOVE.
How about we truly get to the root of the problem using science and love. Why are individuals homeless? Is it addiction, mental health or maybe some of them just like the idea of living on the streets. Let's find the root of the problem and solve the problem using science, data and evidence. Not only have found a solution to a problem, but we have also provided the ultimate feeling to our fellow man...LOVE.
But heck what do I know...I'm just Joe.
There are approximately 7.5 billion people on Earth. We all either were pushed out or cut out of a uterus. What makes anyone of us special? Of course, if I give my child a unique spelling of a name, that makes Mykuhl or Ashliegh very special. Of course we are all special. This is why we care about taking the selfie at the concert, vacation spot or at breakfast because we are all special. Take a look at all of our "friends" and "likes". I heard an interview with Duff McKagan (@DuffMcKagan), guitar player for Guns and Roses, and he mentioned that he really started to enjoy life when he wrote. He had specific deadlines to submit his articles. This forced him to be observant and reflect upon his life. I have may thoughts and I enjoy seeing the beauty of everyday life.
You know what...I'm not special. I'm just a husband, father, son, brother, uncle and a friend. I'm only special if I choose to be special. I could be special by finding a cure for cancer, randomly detailing my wife's car, playing catch with my older son, taking my younger son to his favorite comic book store, helping a student decide what college they should attend in the fall or smiling as I say "good morning" to an unsuspecting person at the grocery store. I've decided to take 15-20 minutes to write my thoughts and observations. By the way...you and I are still insignificant...unless we make a decide to make a difference in someone's life.