One interesting aspect about humans is that their opinion and world views are a direct product of how they take up information(*). You probably heard the story about three blind men who where trying to understand what an elephant is. One blind man touched the elephant’s leg and concluded that an elephant was like a giant tree trunk. The other one touched the tooth and conclude that the elephant was a spear and the last one touched the trunk and concluded that the elephant must be some kind of wriggling snake.
(*) And of course also the kind of information they take up.
Similarly people perceive the world in different ways that make sense to them given their means of perception and the information and information processing that’s available to them. There are at least two ways(*) of taking in information. The oldest way is by sensing and experiencing – like the self-taught mechanic who can fix an engine but can’t tell you how it works. Lao Tsu would approve. A newer way is by assigning words to our experience and talking. This presents a problem in the sense that when I say “dog” and you hear me say “dog” – are we talking about the same dog? This way of taking in information disregards the experience and rather fits it into a framework of language which can be either words, logic, or emotions or values. A person can disregard his experiences to a degree where he can no longer tie his own shoelaces. There are also at least two ways of reaching conclusions which lead to actions. Both start with certain values but one system prioritizes the values according to how they make them and other persons feel and the other other prioritizes the values according to rules of logic.
(*) If you know of a third way let me know in the comments. That would be VERY interesting.
A very human trait is to form an opinion very early on say when 20 percent of the information is given after which supporting information is used to reinforce one’s preliminary conclusion whereas contrary information is disregarded. This is a fast way to make people very decisive which is a good thing in an emergency but it is also a way of making sure that people remain wrong for a long time.
Another very human trait is to weigh recent information more than historical information or worse, weigh it higher than than “what is not seen”. The latter is causes an enormous amounts of confusion. One might almost say that the entire field of economics is dedicated to solve this problem (the broken window fallacy), at least after a couple of beers. In physics this many-world problem has been solved using wavefunctions; usually it is presented the other way around saying that many-worlds is one way of interpreting the wavefunction.
I’m willing to bet money (I wouldn’t win all the time but I’d win more often than not) that if you believe in all pervading resonance fields or a collective consciousness or if you believe there’s something greater than yourself but you can’t quite pinpoint it, or if you’re always on a quest for answers, you’re probably disregarding the experience and thinking abstractedly valuing your conclusions according to how they make you feel. You just “know” there is something greater than yourself. Conversely, if you keep disregarding the experiencing of the world the surrounds you, that is, you keep on philosophizing but use logic, you’re forced to conclude that there are no things that are greater than yourself and those that are can be understood (because if you can’t understand, it’s not relevant, see? 😉 ) which basically means you “own” or control them and are no longer in awe. If you are used to experiencing things you’re very likely to do as everybody else does. The reason is that since you don’t spend a lot of time in your own world, that is, your own head, you’ll spend time in other people’s world. You’ll talk about “what everybody’s talking about”.
Yes, everybody are pretty much a slave of their construction.
You may think that you know the truth, but do you?
The most effective prison is the one you can not see, your own brain.
Originally posted 2009-06-11 00:05:10.