Bias Arguments and Why We Like Them

As I mentioned before, I figured out that someone can argue for anything they want by highlighting certain aspects and ignoring others. Nothing is inherently good or bad – someone can argue as effectively either way. Just now I found out a fascinating implication that comes from this.

When creating an argument, you can select any evidence you want. Often, what we do is select evidence to craft the situation to look a certain way – the way we WANT IT to look. We ignore certain evidence outside of that sphere because it would damage the case we’re trying to make. But really, this just hides the underlying reasons for looking for one thing over another in the first place.

For instance, say you want to prove that Christianity is the best religion. Then you gather your evidence: “Jesus was such an amazing human being(/God), look at these great messages that are in the New Testament, there are many people who agree with me, Christians aren’t pushy about their religion and don’t go door to do like Jehova’s witness or Mormons, Chinese are Buddhists and Communists and everyone knows Communism is evil so Buddhism doesn’t work, Christians give such and such money to charities, they have great messages, etc.” You get the idea. You haven’t really looked at ALL the evidence, but you’ve found a sufficient number of items to surround your insistence that Christianity is the best religion and keep it alive. The question is why.

As soon as you delve into why, you can begin to get at the underlying issues causing you to create bias views in the first place, rather than look for the truth unhindered. So, taking the example above again, that person might have been told that Christianity didn’t have all the answers and actually did damage to the world, and, whether or not that was true, at the time they identified themselves as Christian, and the comment was taken as an attack on their identity. In defense, but scared to actually debate the truth of the issue, they surrounded themselves with arguments that favored their side. In essence: they were so afraid to let their identity be harmed, and so afraid to even consider that it COULD be harmed, that they surround the belief (that Christianity is the best) with a bunch of evidence that only supports their side.

Same is true when any argument is made – it’s why in debate teams it’s the norm to argue either side – that you choose what evidence to think about and use when arguing for something. Your reasons for choosing the evidence you do are important, and can tell you a lot about potential challenges that you can face more clearly, like fears that are so hidden you don’t even know about them. That doesn’t make facing the fears any easier, but it lets you see that they’re there so you can choose to face them if you want to.

This is also why it can be so hard to argue with people. They become so invested in being right that the given topic becomes about so much more than the truth. People can feel threatened if their beliefs are attacked because it means their fears, anger, sadness, and all that stuff they dont want to look at – can get exposed. They covered it over for a reason. We all do, even if we dont know it.

Conflict Needed for Peace

It seems that conflict is necessary for peace. How does that make sense? Because with the willingness to engage in conflict you can face down those things within and without that disrupt peace. To not do so is to let yourself be enslaved and manipulated by these threats to peace, such as anger, hatred, and so on. All they have to argue is “you betta be peaceful!” and you’ll shut down? Arguing, conflicting with others is part of respecting yourself – as long as it’s not arbitrary, as long as you don’t intend to stir up unnecessary trouble. Conflict is best engaged in with the intent to resolve conflict that was already there – perhaps under the surface. It’s like potential energy in physics, like with a loaded spring. That spring wants to boing, don’t let it stew. Call out the anger and resentment and the desire to control hovering under the surface of those around you, and you’ll be respecting yourself and becoming more free.

That doesn’t mean you need to fear peace, either. Just stay in tune with your ability to sense that something’s wrong – like when you’re starting to feel annoyed inside. At that point, just try to get to the root of the conflict, by challenging whatever needs to be challenged, within or outside of you. The truth will come out in the conflict, and you might find in others, or yourself, false beliefs that you’ve been relying on, but which cause unnecessary conflict, destroying peace.

Decisions from Fear vs. Self-respect

Latest thing I learned from my self-training: That just because you make decisions toward one end doesn’t mean you need to fear its opposite. All it means is that you respect yourself enough to lead yourself towards a prosperous future. This may seem like a small distinction, but it means the difference between constantly running away from something and being at peace with wherever you end up. That is, you can face whatever comes your way, while at the same time guiding yourself toward something positive. After all, no matter how much information you gather for your decisions, there will always be uncertainties in the outcome.

Fear List

Since I found out a lack of calmness is usually due to fear, I set about today making a list of every fear-based thought that popped into my head, no matter how small. After maybe two hours or so I already have 32! Surprisingly I felt more calm just doing this, as it allowed me to get on paper things jumping around nervously inside my head. Sort of like a todo list. I don’t know how I’ll handle these yet, but I’m beginning to see some themes, such as fears about my character turning bad, about doing unnecessary things, about making mistakes that will come back to haunt me, about unknowns that could possibly cause me harm if I remain in the dark, about how much I really know vs. what I just think I know. These come out as silly things, like: “That I will get serious again.” or “That singing a song will get it stuck in my head.” or even one fear about how if not getting on a scary theme park ride in my dream last night will come back to haunt me. Just got one more – “Should I post this?” lol. “Is that really what I’m afraid of?” “If I post it now, will it be just for the sake of appearances?” šŸ˜ “Am I missing anything?” Ok I think I’m good now. “Am I?”

Stress: A Disagreement with Peace

How I represent the peaceful force inside myself – as a white bird

There’s part of you who’s always calm, relaxed, and cares about you. When you get anxious or worried, it’s probably because you’re disagreeing in some way with this relaxed self. “Yes, I do need to get worried! Look at all these things I’ve got to do, how could I be calm right now??? I’d get nothing done! Ugh! I don’t know if I’ll get them done… oh no…” It seems that whenever you do somethingĀ out of fear you are disagreeing with the way the calm part of you handles things. After all, it’s fight or flight at that point, as opposed to calm. And it’s not bothered at all in respecting your wishes and standing aside, letting you get fearful and worried – that’s what someone who cares for you would do, after all. Still, I get the sense that if you work through your differences with this side of you, it would stay with you all the time – now wouldn’t that be awesome?

Impatience

Today I discovered at least one of the major sources of my impatience. There is a force in me that wants to avoid negative situations – physically, emotionally – and is constantly on the lookout for when they might occur. He doesn’t care much about my fancies, or imagination or any of that crap. He just thinks “ok, what’s the next task I need to do in order to avoid humiliation, or physical discomfort, or disappointment…?” and he goes to great lengths, trying to boss me around to get me to do these things. He likes when I have very low self-esteem, because then I don’t get funny, dangerous ideas in my head that might put me in a bad state.

So I took a stand against this rather negative mean guy, and basically argued that

  1. I didn’t have to abuse myself in order to look out for my well-being,
  2. In looking out for my well-being, I could just listen for signals that said “Hey, I’m hungry” or “oh, I’m getting cold” or “I’m feeling uncomfortable”, etc. and just respond to them rather than adopt a plan of some kind to fend off the hunger or discomfort from ever occurring (like: “3 meals a day at precise times, gotta make those portions right! Oh and 8 glasses of water. That’s what experts recommend… gotta do it…”)
  3. If not abusing myself caused those previously repressed parts of me to overwhelm me, and cause me to do crazy things, I would allow this guy to abuse me again. He got excited at this, but I told him I have no intention of ever letting him abuse me. He got the point. Basically, I feel as though if I stop abusing myself I can hear those inner feelings better, and thus respond to them, and know why they might act in unhealthy ways, if they in fact do.

This whole thing strangely resembled the conversation Harry Potter has with Lucius Malfoy at the end of Book 2, when Dobby earns his freedom. This may just be my overactive symbolic imagination, but I feel like there’s a reason why stories resonate with people, and I’m experiencing those reasons in my own little ways. And everyone with little disgruntled negative people inside them can do the same, too! Hurray!

Fear of Thoughts

This one might be pretty obvious, but…
If you do not want to think certain things, and are afraid of thinking them – those thoughts will pop into your head and freak you out. Once you see that it is the fear of the thought that causes the thought, then you can bust down your unfounded fear. You got this!