Distorted beliefs and biased opinions can destroy lives. It’s important to keep our eyes open to the facts and not be misled by our irrational biases. The following are several fallacies that delude people’s thoughts.
1. The confirmation bias
When someone has a confirmation bias they try to validate what they already believe. They are quick to reject conflicting evidence and never consider that they could be wrong.
When people don’t know the answers to life’s questions, they make them up. Once they have a story that makes them feel warm inside or “better than others” they stick with it. No matter how ridiculous it is.
For example, some people don’t believe the Holocaust ever happened, no matter how much proof you show them. People hold on to these false beliefs because they want them to be true.
This eventually leads to the person to never question what they believe. They march blindly on no matter how horrific situations become.
2. The “halo effect”
The halo effect occurs when a person likes (or dislikes) an attribute in another person and then assumes they have a good or bad character. This cognitive bias is why a manager will hire someone who has a positive characteristic, but no work ethic. The employee can do no wrong. Well, to a point.
I’m not a very political person but Donald Trump is an excellent example of the halo effect. For example, before Trump became president, immigrant families were detained together and sent back immediately or paroled into the country.
But last month in May, Trump separated 650 innocent children from their parents. Then he sent the parents to be prosecuted, thus ripping apart hundreds of families like they weren’t even human.
He can’t hide that he is a obvious racist and a narcissist. Not to mention he has a sociopathic lack of regard for human life by laughing about molesting women. People are so blinded that they still support him.
3. Self-fulfilling prophecies
“Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right.”
― Henry Ford
A self-fulfilling prophecy is when a person predicts an outcome and they believe it to be true. Their subconscious (which runs most of our behaviors) will ensure their prediction comes true.
For instance, someone that expects to get hired for a job they will go to the interview on time, energetic and confident. Chances are they will get the job, thus proving their prediction to be true.
Another example would be the placebo effect, this is the improvement of health when no legitimate treatment was given. This happens because the person believed strongly in the treatment’s effectiveness.
The patient would be more positive and in-effect take better care of themselves. Soon they will be as healthy as they predicted.
Some self-fulfilling prophecies can be negative. Suppose you roll out of bed and immediately focus on how you don’t feel good, your back hurts, and the thought of work makes you cringe.
Guaranteed, your day will be as terrible as predicted. So, be cognizant about what you’ve been thinking and predict positive outcomes.
4. Herd mentality
Herd mentality is the tendency for people to take the opinions of others as their own. They follow the behaviors of the masses to feel safer and to avoid conflict.
People who follow the crowd don’t believe they are smart enough to make decisions for themselves. So, they give up this ability by joining a group, political party, religion or even friends. These groups already have a standard set of beliefs for them to adopt. They’re not supposed to question these concepts, they just follow them blindly.
This kind of mindset can manipulate people into doing and thinking hateful things. It can lead to violence, murder or war. It has happened many times before.
All in all, it’s clear to see how not questioning our beliefs can cause bad things to happen.
Therefore, be careful with what you believe and of the things you think. Make sure you focus on positivity and predict more positive outcomes. Forget all hateful programming you’ve been through. Remember that all living beings deserve love and respect.
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