If you have ever watched your finger go in front of your head from one side of your head to the other, you will notice that it disappears while you are watching it. That is because your brain is not perfect, there are holes in its perception. These are called cognitive biases, and they make our lives more challenging at best, and down right stupid from time to time. We have holes in our reasoning, and if we don’t know it, we suffer because we think we are stupid, when we are not. It is just the way our brains work. Here are some of the ways our brains are stupid and we go for information that is easy, but not real.
(1) Best Available Information: When we don’t know any better, we overestimate the importance of what we know. We might know that someone did drugs and lived a long time. We assume that doing drugs is healthy.
(2) First Available Information: We put too much importance on the first thing we learn. Old timers are especially subject to what otherwise is known as “close minded”.
(3) Peer Pressure: The more people that believe something makes it more believable.
(4) Blind Spots: The fact that we don’t realize something only increases the blind spot.
(5) End Result Analysis: Whatever we choose must be right.
(6) Random patterns: We want to see consistency in random events, so we delude ourselves into believing that there is a pattern in complete randomness.
(7) Conformational bias: We only believe that which confirms our beliefs.
(8) Status quo thinking: The world was flat, then it swas round. Now it is flat again. We resist new thoughts.
(9) What we know is right: We look for reasons our beliefs are correct rather than investigate new information.
(10) Avoidance: We would rather recognize evidence that proves what we believe than seek evidence that changes that belief.
(11) Result Orientation: The ends justify the means.
(12) Placebo effect: Our beliefs create our reality.
(13) Familiarity: We observe what we know. This is the basis of the theory that the shaman did not see the Spanish ships.
(14) Expectations: We see what we want to see.
(15) Expectations: Stereotyping based on prejudice.
(16) Only the strong survive: we only follow the survivors.
These are all functions of a healthy brain. To be truly aware and mindful, we have to let go of these preconceived brain functions.