According to Wikipedia, the term “confirmation bias” is defined as “the tendency to search for, interpret, favor, and recall information that confirms or supports one’s prior personal beliefs or values.”
All I have to do is look at my newsfeed to see there’s a whole lot of confirmation bias going on.
Also known as digging our heels in.
I don’t think there’s a person alive who is not guilty of it on some level. I sure am. It takes real effort to honesty look at ourselves to see if we are wrong. To check other “stations.” I don’t do it often enough.
But I’m doing it.
Some days I’m open to finding out what I don’t know and let me tell you, there’s a whole lot I don’t.
It’s kind of embarrassing.
I know a few more things this week than I knew last week. Things I thought I knew, I really didn’t.
One of my favorite quotes is by Pema Chödrön:
“The most fundamental aggression to ourselves, the most fundamental harm we can do to … by not having the courage and the respect to look at ourselves honestly and gently.”
“An aggression to ourselves,” she says. When we are not open to truly, TRULY listening to a voice coming from an opposing viewpoint without having what my salesman-husband would call “the presumed close” in mind.
“…to look at ourselves honestly and gently”—according to Pema, we can be gentle in our self-examination, no need to compound things, no need to beat ourselves up. Just as Jesus said, we can “go and sin no more.”
Reminds me of the Maya Angelou quote, “I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.”
I’m listening to Ibram X. Kendi’s book on Audible and it’s teaching me history I was not taught in school. (You can listen to an interview with the author here. I recommend sticking with it at least until the umbrella illustration.)
Same deal with the documentary 13th I watched last week (Netflix).
I’m becoming aware of things about myself that I’m not proud of—but I get to remind myself, that I don’t need to beat myself up about them, I can just point myself in the direction of that new information and, hopefully, “sin no more.”
Doesn’t mean I won’t, of course.
When we don’t have the courage and the respect to look at ourselves honestly and gently, we are not only aggressive to ourselves, we are aggressive to others. We create hell on earth. I don’t have to tell you, it’s pretty hellish out there right now.
Listening is the new talking.
Unlearning is the new learning.
Lord, Let my heels be a little less muddy today than yesterday.