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Posted by on Oct 2, 2012 in Art, Freethought Blogs, Music, Skepticism, Uncategorized | 4 comments

You’re Fooling Yourself

The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool.
— Richard P. Feynman

Bryan Ferry – These Foolish Things

Before we endeavor to adopt a rational, evidence-based world view, the most important thing to realize is our own fallibility; our own susceptibility to various biases.  Unless we’re able to do this, our perception of the world will forever remain skewed. In fact, even if we’re able to do this better than most, we’ll still be biased in some ways about some things. This is why it’s so important to remain open to dissenting views and to give them a fair hearing, even if a particular point of view seems offensive. In fact, especially if a particular point of view seems offensive. Because our biases are at our strongest when our feelings and emotions are engaged.

Human beings are not computers (and yet we create them!) How amazing is that? But because we’re not machines, our mental processes are colored by emotions, a rainbow palette that gives each one of us personality, individuality, and charm. For this, we sometimes sacrifice the ability to be rational. But in my opinion, the trade-off is more than worthwhile, as long as we remember that even when we’re certain about something, we can still be wrong.  And a touch of humility goes a long way toward building bridges between distant shores.