Sunday, July 7, 2013

CONFIRMATION BIAS, CIRCULAR THINKING AND THE FULFILLING OF SELF-DELUSIONAL THINKING

TACTICAL

I am TIGHT!

CONFIRMATION BIAS, CIRCULAR THINKING AND THE FULFILLING OF SELF-DELUSIONAL THINKING

Starting off with this quote by the first President of the United States, George Washington, “Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence,” I hope to fortify my biases, why I continue to go around and around with my thoughts, and how they all combine to form the  delusions that inhabit my mind.  

The George Washington quote echoes the sentiment that a quote, mostly attributed Plato (but who knows who said it first), “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle,” which I feel is a crucial part of the foundation of my character.  So despite my contaminated presuppositions and pigeonholing, I always have managed to hold back the surging tides of all of the aforementioned biases, to be considerate, thoughtful and kind first, in spite of my own thoughts and personal considerations.  While this has been a series of entries connected by my own delusions, the title of these entries have also been a condemnation of those who cannot rise above THEIR own brand of biased thinking.

I don’t know what experiences that some of the women that I have been involved with had prior to my appearance in their life, but there are some unmistakable signs confirmation bias, circular thinking and the fulfilling of their own delusions, that have served as lessons for me.  They form the bulwark of what are my own myths and fables that I have chosen to let define my personal boundaries with women and relationships in general.  But even in admitting to possessing biases, I make the struggle for objectivity in my thoughts a priority.  Certain qualities, particular statements ALWAYS indicate potential characteristics and behaviors, and thus the case for objectivity is tabled.  For instance...

Mean people suck.  Always have and always will in my eyes.  Selfish people, too.  And why is that, you may ask?

                        “...if in the affairs of the everyday, the trifles of life,
                         a man is inconsiderate and seeks only what is advan-
                         or convenient to himself that which belongs to all
                         alike, you may be sure that there is no justice in his
                         in his heart and that he would be a scoundrel on a
                         wholesale scale, only that law and compulsion bind
                          his hands.” -Arthur Schopenaeuer (gotta love those     
                        German Philosophers!!)

I have used this as the ultimate measure of a person... how they carry themselves in those moments of unguarded studied reserve and civility.  These are the moments that I believe when a person’s character is revealed, when they are relaxed and you see how one behaves in the small areas of life that is shared by all.  Growing up, it was here that I developed my antipathy for the company of the homo-erotic bullying of other boys (and where would categorize a ‘wedgie’?) and the acid-laced verbalizations of girls.  I did not need to put up with that mess and I believe that it has served me very well (my own faults prevented this approach from being ‘extraordinary’).

Now I must admit to having my own biases (and I am sure that a few readers would be glad to point them out to me, no doubt!!).  And what makes mine different from, or maybe better than yours, is that I am conscious that I am biased.  Being self-aware of my inclination to favor either consciously or unconsciously a certain outcome regardless of what happens to the cat, allows me to separate from the outcome of a choice, as much of my own subjective values as I possibly can.  In short, the numbers have lead me to many of my conclusions as much as the things that I ‘think that I think’.
Whether or not I am ‘believed’ has never concerned me.  It has always been up to others to confirm for themselves the ‘what’s what’ to either my position or find and exploit my position’s weakness, not mine.  I understood how to not only confirm, but  in taking a page from President Reagan, also verify what I believe as true.

For over thirty years the situation in the African-American relationships has been dire.  While there are ‘true believers’, who are mistakenly supporting the conditions that drive the crisis, many others simply stick their head in the sand and hope for the best.  Now, the conditions that plague relationships in my ethnic group has ‘jumped ethnic groups’ and like a virus, has morphed into a contagion that affect the majority here in the United States (daresay the entire 1st world), but still contains all of its original virulence.

If I hadn’t said so earlier in this entry, I don’t care why good women are single.  It never bothered me if I ‘found’ someone to be in love with or not (although there exists an compulsion... which I think is because of empirical data and a touch of egoism), so I am nonplussed at the frenetic thrashing of men and women hurling themselves against the currents in relationships.  Simply put, I really don’t care.

Somewhere, near or even in my mind’s eye, is a 13 year-old boy, who has long since gotten ‘over it’ and is smiling.  And it is a big smile too.

1 comment:

Thomas Alice said...

There's a zen concept called "beginner's mind." The idea is that you should see everything as a beginner would, because that way you see more options and possibilities.

It's hard sometimes to draw the line between learning from experiences and being confined by them.

I guess we'll muddle through and figure something out.