Why You Can’t See Reality Under The Influence of Ignorance: The Effect of Cognitive Bias/Kleshas (Poisons) on Perception
Everyone knows (or should know by now, with the prevalence of, and science on, addiction problems in the United States and abroad), that you should not do drugs that you can’t handle, and that consuming too many toxic drugs will eventually deteriorate your brain. And yet, it is clear to see people tripping and overdosing on idiotic and toxic thinking (among other things) everyday, overindulging in ignorance and the four other mental poisons that serve as obstacles to spiritual evolution on a daily basis without any level of self-awareness and/or self-control. Ignorance is a deadly and toxic drug that deteriorates the mind and has far reaching consequences.
And you only have to look out casually into the world to see the toxic effects of perverse and ignorant fear-fueled ego-trips laced with greed, delusion, and anger binges being carried out in plain sight and on the internet, with no clear end on the horizon.
Practically everywhere that you look today, there is an epidemic of people high on stupid (from the so-called “educated” to those advertising advanced PHDs in “The School of Hardknocks”)…acting out, or seeking out, their next idiotic thought fix from an “influential” supplier of choice. The issue has been around for centuries, and no true public initiative has ever officially been launched to remedy the pervasive, systemic, and rapidly growing, problem that is impacting everyone of all “genders,” “social classes,” “races,” “statuses,” “roles,” “religions,” and ages alike, and, arguably, creating the bedrock for all other problems that arise in families, communities, and societies as a whole.
People are seeing things that aren’t there, believing in things that aren’t real, acting like fools in the streets and like zombies on social media. There appears to be a general degradation in “leadership” everywhere, and it seems that the issue is far beyond fixing. But, could the solution to this destructive problem be closer than you imagine?
With your “souls” and your children’s “souls” at stake, how can you work to effectively solve this massive problem, especially when much of the “knowledge” proposed by some who claim to have answers is also contaminated with the same ignorance that it proposes to solve?
Stupid Is As Stupid Does
When it comes to understanding the human mind, cognitive biases, play a fascinating role.
These biases, which are inherent flaws in thinking, shape how you perceive the world around you, and, therefore, influence how you respond to, and behave within, it. Paired with the general fact that your perception of “reality,” seen through the senses, and influenced by a number of factors from developmental level, to hormones and cultural conditioning, is highly questionable to begin with, it becomes even more important to be aware of the controllable flaws that make it so that you may be living your life based on destructive delusions that lead to suffering and bad Karmas as opposed to dwelling in the Liberating Truth of the Absolute Reality.
In this article, we will continue to delve into the captivating realm of cognitive biases, and explore how they have a profound impact on human perception and behavior.
We will examine the role that cognitive bias has in shaping your “reality,” forming stereotypes and prejudices, influencing your memory and recall, and, you will gain a simple and valuable insight into how to be a bit more aware of these biases so that they do not become obstacles/poisons/Kleshas that deter your progress to Samadhi and Liberation on the Eight-Limbed/Yogic/spiritual path.
Shaping Perceptions of Reality
As we have been discussing for some time now, your perception of reality is not objective, nor is it “real” in any Absolute sense when you have not done the necessary inner work to clear away your lower attachments/distortions. Instead, “reality” as you “see it” before attaining full spiritual maturity, is a subjective interpretation of skewed/limited observations influenced by cognitive biases.
These biases act as filters through which you process information and make judgments/”sense” of the world and your experiences in/of it, and this is what determines the types of Karmas, and, therefore, the level and kind of suffering, that you create and are effected by in the world. Take, for instance, any confirmation bias that you may hold where you seek and interpret information that aligns with your pre-existing beliefs. This bias narrows your perspective, reinforcing existing notions, and limiting your understanding of alternative viewpoints, which essentially warps your perception of the full reality that is available for you to see regarding any given observation/experience. Similarly, other biases (since humans ever rarely have only one bias), such as the availability heuristic and anchoring bias can shape your perceptions by relying on easily accessible information or initial references as opposed to the full context of available information around any given subject that would otherwise give you a full/clearer picture.
The Role of Cognitive Biases in Forming The Karma of Problematic Stereotypes and Prejudice That Lead To Limited World-Views And Identities
Since the human mind has a tendency to categorize, generalize, and even fabricate information, often leading to biased judgments that cause the formation of stereotypes and prejudice, you are highly susceptible to participating in harmful viewpoints that objectify and limit your perceptions of “yourself” and different people, which may lead you to participate in some pretty evil acts. And this matters if you intend to follow your Yamas and Niyamas with any level of integrity. By selectively perceiving information that supports your preconceived notions about certain groups or individuals, instead of seeing people as they are individually in Reality and/or based on their actual character, etc, your biases lead you to effectively contribute to the perpetuation of lies, stereotypes, and prejudices that hinder correct and appropriate behaviors or empathy, and they foster social divisions that not only cause harm to others, but also cause harm to yourself (when you get found out) and your society as a whole. Pair this with a warped memory facility in certain contexts, and you have a recipe for delusion that is incredibly problematic.
Human memory, contrary to what most people think, is not an infallible and objective recorder of events. Even your recollection of events that you observed or think you observed and experienced is influenced by cognitive biases when afflicted by lower thinking and biases. Hindsight bias, for instance, distorts your memory by causing you to remember past events as more predictable or foreseeable than they actually were. And, suggestibility bias can lead to the incorporation of false information into your memories, particularly in situations involving additional biases, stress, leading questions, and/or suggestive “influences.” These biases challenge the reliability and accuracy of your recollections, making your memory an imperfect reflection of the past, and your Karmas a recipe for your own entrapment in suffering, as well as making you a toxic/unsafe presence for others to be around.
Interplay Between Perception, Stereotypes, Prejudice, and Memory in Those Afflicted By Racism, Sexism, Jealousies, And Other Degeneracies
The interplay between perception, stereotypes, prejudice, and memory is complex and interconnected. Your biased perception can reinforce existing stereotypes and prejudice, creating a feedback loop that perpetuates distorted beliefs and attitudes. Furthermore, biased memories can strengthen these perceptions by selectively recalling information that aligns with your biases, as opposed to Reality, creating a self-reinforcing cycle of delusion that can be challenging to break free from in order to effectively see/live in Reality and make progress on the spiritual journey.
Implications and Consequences
Emmet Till. The Holocausts. Crazy “Karens” in the park (apologies to anyone who is actually named Karen). Oppression and mistreatment of women all around the world. The general idiocy observed in American and other societies. Failure to reach firm ground in your spiritual development. The implications of cognitive biases on individuals and society are profound and multifaceted.
Biases can hinder critical thinking, decency, rational decision-making, and your general ability to correctly perceive Reality (as mentioned before), preventing you from behaving logically, fairly, and/or humanely. These bias that lead to outright delusional thinking, and living, contribute to the spread of misinformation, a waste of/drain on public resources, reinforced social inequalities, and they impede progress towards a more inclusive society (meaning a more harmonious, healthy, and productive one–which some of you may actually care about). Moreover, media, social networks, and cultural influences often amplify and perpetuate ignorant biases, leading you to participate in polarization and division with individuals and communities who are not strong enough, or make enough effort, to think logically in a manner grounded in Truth and Reality as opposed to guided by Kleshas/poison-fueled imaginations.
Strategies for Mitigating the Influence of Cognitive Biases
While cognitive biases are deeply ingrained in unrefined/unevolved/lower human thinking, there are strategies that you can employ to mitigate their influence on your life and spiritual practice if you happen to unfortunately be afflicted by any form of mental degeneracy. Awareness and recognition of your biases is the first step. By acknowledging your inherent predispositions, you can actively challenge and question your own assumptions and beliefs. Cultivating critical thinking skills, seeking diverse perspectives, and embracing empathy and a clear view of Reality, can help you to counteract biases and promote more balanced/accurate perceptions in the world (which also happens to be a crucial factor for fostering inclusive environments that encourage open dialogue and the exchange of ideas that support our societies to progress as a whole).
Cognitive biases have a remarkable influence on your perception, shaping your “reality” in profound ways. By understanding the role of these biases in forming stereotypes and prejudice, distorting memory, and influencing your overall perception, and then working to challenge and clear them (because they are false), you can gain insights that can help you to effectively navigate a complex and biased world in order to make true progress on your spiritual path. Do not allow yourself to get or stay stuck on stupid and/or under the influence of ignorance. Break free (even if no one else around you does or ever will). Ignorance is not bliss. Ignorance is, instead, a death sentence on your entrapment in suffering; it is your bondage to destructive Karmas that only keep you tied in painful delusion and guaranteed misery in the world.
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