Why You and I See Differently

It’s November 4, 2020. We don’t yet know who will be president of the United States for the next four years. I’m trying to find some peace for my soul that does not depend on the outcome of the election. The main frustration for me is the angry divisiveness. How can reasonable intelligent people who all live in the same country, and witness the same daily occurrences hold such polar opposite opinions? 

I’m sharing with you some wisdom from Brian McLaren, who gives the following insight about our biases on his Podcast Learning How to See. At least now I know why. Maybe you will find some comfort in this knowledge also. With much love, peace and hope,

Julee

Brian McLaren:

  • Confirmation Bias: The human brain welcomes information that confirms what it already thinks and resists information that disturbs or contradicts what it already thinks.
  • Complexity Bias: The human brain prefers a simple lie to a complex truth. 
  • Community Bias: The human brain finds it very hard for you to see something your group doesn’t want you to see. In other words, we put tribe over truth. This is also known as social confirmation bias.
  • Complementarity Bias: If people are nice to you, you’ll be open to what they see and have to say. If they aren’t nice to you, you won’t. We mirror back the attitude we receive from other people, and that makes us open or closed to what they have to say, whether it’s true or not. 
  • Contact Bias: If you lack contact with someone, you won’t see what they see. 
  • Conservative/Liberal Bias: Our brains like to see as our party sees, and we flock with those who see as we do. 
  • Consciousness Bias: Our brains see from a location, a person’s level of consciousness, or we could say their cognitive maturity makes seeing some things possible and seeing other things impossible. 
  • Competency Bias. Our brains prefer to think of ourselves as above average. As a result, we are incompetent at knowing how incompetent or competent we really are.
  • Confidence Bias. Our brains prefer a confident lie to a hesitant truth. We mistake confidence for competence, and we are all vulnerable to the lies of confident people. 
  • Conspiracy Bias. When we feel shame, we are especially vulnerable to stories that cast us as victims of an evil conspiracy by some enemy or other. In other words, our brains like stories in which we’re either the hero or the victim but never the villain. 
  • Comfort, or Complacency, or Convenience bias: Our brains welcome data that allows us to relax and be happy, and our brains reject data that requires us to adjust, work, or inconvenience ourselves. We could say the brain is lazy, but it’s very fast at being lazy. 
  • Catastrophe, or Normalcy, or Baseline Bias. Our brains are wired to set a baseline of normalcy and assume that what feels normal has always been and will always remain. That means that we minimize threats, and we’re vulnerable to disasters, especially disasters that develop slowly. 
  • Cash bias. Our brains are wired to see within the framework of our economy, and we see what helps us make money. It is very hard to see anything that interferes with our way of making a living.