Science has validated that human beings are a bunch of self-righteous hypocrites. We are very skilled critiques when exposed to different beliefs. Yet too blind from acknowledging the flaw in ours. Worse, we are not only unaware of this cancer but also deluded from being healthy. This is what we describe as the rationality illusion.
If that is what you thought for most of your life, congratulations!! You are a human being!
“It is difficult or sometimes even impossible for a person to look at matters completely freely. Some fools may seem to think that they are free in their thinking. the reason for this is that the frame of mind is an unconscious restriction placed on their minds in terms of which they cannot feel [...] the human mind does not feel the weight of the framework placed on it unless it moves to a new society, and notices there ideas and concepts that differ from its previous familiarity.” _ Ali El-Wardi _ The Mockery of the Human Mind
We generally have two thinking mods, fast-thinking, and slow thinking. The intuitive and unconscious mechanism besides the conscious rationalizing. The illusion may suggest that most of our judgments and decisions are based on reasoning. However, it has been confirmed that 99% of our daily mental processing is intuitive.
The good news of having fast-thinking in control is leaving the slow thinking with more energy for important matters!
Another misconception is presuming that both systems are separate. Studies had shown that they go hand in hand. While the unconscious side makes quick judgments, the logical side acts as a skillful lawyer who defends and rationalizes those judgments. This is what we refer to as motivated reasoning.
Motivated reasoning usually coincides with confirmation bias. Though cognitive bias affects how we look for information, motivated reasoning impacts the interpretation of those information. Both align to form the perfect ingredients of absurdity, unsolvable conflicts, and polarization.
Despite their negative influence on our relationships with each other, those mechanisms evolved to protect us from cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance refers to a situation involving conflicting attitudes, beliefs, or behaviors. This produces a feeling of mental discomfort. But, what our mind is ignorant about is that chaos can mean transformation.
Another good news is that our minds can be trained to be more objective and rational! Yupiii!!
How to be more rational:
- Cultivating our selves about logical thinking, critical thinking, and cognitive biases.
- Expose yourself to different perspectives.
- Be mindful of the thoughts and feelings they give birth to.
- Understand the others and try to look for what makes their arguments strong instead of their weaknesses.
- Ask the other party about how they feel about their values. It is more likely that they feel the same as you do.
- Work on those feelings together.
- Remember that you are more than your ideas, so it is okay to change.
The person who never leaves the environment where he grew up or only read the books that confirm his faith cannot be expected to build objective judgments. _ Ali El-Wardi _ The Mockery of the Human Mind
The righteous mind: Why good people are divided by politics and religion. J. Haidt
Thinking, fast and slow. D. Kahneman