Confirmation Bias: You Have To Ask Yourself Why
I was going to write about the issues with organised religion today, and how it can be bad for mental health. It’s a topic that needs more thought and research so I although I’m not approaching it right now, I will get to it in time.
Instead I want to talk about why. And by that I mean, I want to think about why we believe certain things to be true over others. Why do I believe one thing, and think it is true, while someone else may not believe the same. Why do we let these differences divide us so intensely.
Why do you believe some weather is bad and other weather is good? There is no such thing as objectively bad weather. Why do some people believe we get rewarded in an afterlife and others think we do not? No belief can be wrong and no belief can be right, but I often think that people believe certain things without ever thinking about why they believe them.
I used to believe in an afterlife, for example. I used to get comfort from the thought that we at least continue to live in the end. But I knew deep down that it didn’t feel honest. I wanted it to be true, because the alternative is scary. Of course it’s scary. However I don’t think we should force ourselves to believe, or not believe anything out of fear.
They’re just examples. My point here is that if you live your life believing certain things without questioning them, then you’re not being honest with yourself. If you only believe something because other people do, and because you would prefer if that something were true, then you aren’t being honest.
Living with the fear of one of your beliefs not being true is common, but it’s no excuse to be so certain of a belief just because you would prefer if it were true.
You have to ask yourself why. Why do you believe what you believe. Why do you believe that rain is bad? Why do you believe that the way you think is correct? I don’t have the answers at all, and often times for me the answer is ‘I don’t know’.
Being unsure is uncomfortable, yes, but being certain is ridiculous. Questioning what you believe is certainly more conducive to growth than blindly believing things because you always have, or because the alternative of your desired outcome is scary.
Improving the way we think, improves the health of our minds, and that should always be the direction we want to head in.