Wednesday, October 3, 2018

STEPPING BACK FROM CERTAINTY: remembering we are finite, seeking what is true

Have you noticed that most of the voices currently shouting for their side (which ever one it is) seem to think they know for sure and that the other side is completely wrong?

As has happened endlessly in history past, leaders of today are forgetting that they are finite humans seeking what is true, but instead claim to know and that anyone who disagrees with them is________ (fill in the demeaned name-calling).

A few words from a brilliant character in Michael Crichton's book, Timeline, would seem good to reflect about and muse on by everyone today:

"The present is like a coral island that sticks above the water, but is built upon millions of dead corals under the the same way, our everyday world is built upon millions and millions of events and decisions that occurred in the past."

This is why confirmation bias and hostility are so present often in Republicans versus Democrats, Theists versus Atheists, Capitalists versus Socialists, and so on. Each opposing human's view of reality is partially shaped by his/her perceptional view from his/her particular coral reef.

Of course the Timeline quote is hyperbole, overstatement. Our Pasts--whether liberal or conservative, religious or non-religious don't define us completely.

We rational primates have the ability to advance, to make creative new choices, to advance closer to reality.

Most humans can choose to step back and question their presuppositions, their own understandings based upon their own worldview and life-stance which came about in the past,
it ain't easy.

If in doubt, look at how few of us are doing so.

So, let us PAUSE, and study again what we are stating, promoting, in all of these current philosophical and political conflagrations.

1. Are we aware how much of our past is leading us to hold to one position, rather than engaging in careful rational thought about it?

2. Are we remembering to be civil and courteous with those with whom we strongly disagree?

3. Are we open to new thoughts, new perspectives on these contentious arguments?

4. Do we seek to view the best arguments of our enemies with careful consideration?

5. Are we always seeking to be aware of our own confirmation bias?

6. Do we demonstrate benevolence toward those whose views we strongly, rightly, oppose?

Seek what is true,

Daniel Wilcox

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