Friday, May 01, 2015

Confabulation

One of my favourite words is Confabulation. Besides just being a cool word to say, I think it hits the nail on the head for why we fail to solve many of the problems we face. We struggle to keep contradictory thoughts in our head, while at the same time believing a bunch of things wholeheartedly without having thought (or felt) our way through the necessary steps. When we believe two contradictory things, we will have to make up reasons for why we believe something. The conclusion comes first. The reasoning second.

For example:
In one study, a picture of a snow scene was lateralized to the right hemisphere of a split-brain patient, while a picture of a chicken claw was lateralized to his left hemisphere. Then an array of associated pictures was shown to each hemisphere, who responded correctly by pointing at a chicken with his right hand and at a snow shovel with his left hand. But when the patient was asked why he had chosen these items, his left hemisphere said, "Oh, that's simple. The chicken claw goes with the chicken, and you need a shovel to clean out the chicken shed" (Gazzaniga 1995)
We aren't comfortable with acknowledging that we don't know or that the reasons/emotions behind our conclusions are inconsistent and we need help.

Because the world is very complicated and we think in stories, when something starts bugging us as not making sense, we either ignore the facts or come up with new ones that suit us. We are brilliant at re-remembering or changing the way things happened in our head.

I don't like party politics. At all. One reason is it assumes that there can be one underlying philosophy that will answer all questions. You end up voting for a philosophy and the nature of politics means those philosophies have to try and differentiate themselves. They end up entrenching differences between people which don't actually exist in reality. I do think that often there are very different ways of doing individual things, but I think it is very very unlikely that given a left and right option, the same group of people will always choose left and the other group will choose right. We aren't unique snowflakes who choose always choose differently, but we aren't tribal snowflakes either.

Red State Blue State politics isn't just a US issue

One of the most glaring 'conflicting ideas' in politics is when the 'right wing' try get around the conflict between the social conservatism of being against immigration, and the economic facts that immigration is very much a free market ideal that contributes to growth and opportunity. Equally, the 'left wing' struggle with the social liberty idea of treating immigrants well but then being very protectionist when it comes to the economy. They don't like seeing 'jobs migrating' elsewhere, even when those jobs migrating elsewhere are contributing to global equality. The free movement of people is as far as I can tell the best way to right the wrongs of the past.

Immigrants don't steal jobs. Your country of birth is arbitrary. As my friend Shingai is fond of saying: #ThatIsAll.
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