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Recovering backpacker, Cornwallite at heart, political enthusiast, catalyst, writer, husband, father, community volunteer, unabashedly proud Canadian. Every hyperlink connects to something related directly or thematically to that which is highlighted.

Sunday 26 May 2013

Truth and the Filter of Perception

What are emotions?  If you accept, as I have come to, that emotions are merely filters to determine relevance of a current scenario in relation to previous experience/genetic inheritance, then how you feel about something is really the most critical factor in whether you believe it or not. 

We see this in courts of law - it doesn't matter how much evidence gets weighed for a case, if you can insert just the slightest emotional doubt about it's certainty, judgement gets forestalled.  The same applies to politics - it's why attack ads work and why the emotionally-centered, reactive-emotion trigger messaging of the CPC tends to be so effective.

This all makes perfect sense, of course.  We like to tell ourselves we're solidly rational beings in complete control of our faculties.  It's only exceptions - the crazies, the rabid right or the bleed-heart lefties that seem off kilter.  But here's the rub - even those categorizations prove the point.  People can't help but stigmatize the world; the vast majority of our cognitive hard-wiring is designed to see the world through the filter of feelings.

How do we overcome these internal, often hard-wired biases?  When we are at peace, calm, patient, ready to question our own beliefs by thinking critically even about our own thought processes.

In short, by focusing on consciousness, not instinct.  Instinct is an important tool to have, but as is the case with the hammer, when it's the only one you wield, you merely limit your ability to fully harness the opportunities before you.

That's the challenge facing cognitive labourers and leaders in the Knowledge Economy - to live consciously.

Right now, the trend appears to be headed in the opposite direction, but the long-term trend of history shows us that can't last.

You can't stop the signal.

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