By now, you’ve all heard of cognitive biases. They are like Pigeons. It was okay when there was a few of them, but now you can punch them in the throat and not feel bad because there’s so many.
Biases are the processed food for your self-awareness. The don’t drink and drive warning for your decision making. Psychology’s Charlie Sheen.
As we uncovered all the unconscious ways in which we were being sociopaths, we became mindlessly sensitive. It’s the classic woke move: Find an idea that arouses you, go apeshit by extending, extrapolating, and exaggerating it until the idea becomes a parody of its original self; Stay woke by beefing with anyone that calls you out on your now radical ideals. The things we do to keep post-modernism alive.
Our thoughts are a stream of desires. Biases protect these desires.
And in case you are still wondering what a bias is, it’s a way of thinking that validates your way of thinking. And almost always, your original way of thinking is flawed.
Say you believe in God. Okay, less controversial example. Say you believe every single thought you have is the greatest insight anyone’s ever had – Twitter, basically – anyone who contradicts you is dumb and anyone who asks you to shut the hell up is anti-national.
And now if you are thinking, I know so many people like that so obviously that can’t be me, chances are it is you. That’s pretty much the definition of biases. The belief that everyone except you suffers from them. But the more you read about biases, the more you begin to believe it’s everyone else.
And the things we do to not be like everyone else.
Introducing to you, cognitive bias #no-one’s-keeping-count-anymore, named after my favorite junk food and least favorite anatomical part: Cheese balls bias. Cheese balls bias is the desire to look ripped on a diet of deep-fried cheese and cheese dip. It’s the neo-nausea of cognitive biases, the trick inside every faux intellectual’s douchebag.
The desire to look unbiased while being a bigoted arseole.
Understanding our biases helps us slow down our reactions. They open up a glimpse of vulnerability where we are tempted to question our beliefs. These moments of consciousness are what lead us to rationality. And to the how-are-we-still-fighting-for-this state that is Equality.
But the recent overload of biases has had the exact opposite effect: it’s become a veneer for decision making. For our supremacy.
“I am not like everyone else because I am at least considering the possibility that I may be wrong, which makes me all the more correct.”
“Also, am I God?”
Biases have a lot to do with how you talk to yourself. If you are constantly telling yourself, people are trying to put you down; that the opposite gender is a binary of attractive objects or manipulative hyenas; that your knowledge and experience of life reaches heights plebs you deal with every day will never reach — debiasing you will be impossible. Because you have a single conclusion to all attempts to give you a reality check: Everyone else is biased.
Our instincts are primed for survival. Biases aren’t meant to over-ride our instincts as much as help develop a healthy relationship with them. And like any healthy relationship, this means taking responsibility while still talking about how you feel. It means going above the language of assumptions when you talk to yourself.
And it’s developing a way of thinking that knows you can be both right and wrong. Change is the willingness to find out, despite yourself.