We like to think of ourselves as very rational beings, conscious of decisions we made. We often refuse to admit that some of great outcomes were based on pure hunch and simple coincidence. Instead sometimes we pose and tell everyone that we predicted the outcome, taking credit for our “smartness”. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not judging. This is built into our nature by generations of natural selection. Think about this for a second, challenge yourself. Are your opinions really your conscious, rational statements? There is so much information in surrounding reality, it’s virtually impossible to be conscious about all of our perceiving limitations, mental shorthands we use and all the built in by socialization beliefs that affect our views.
The point I want to make is twofold. On the one hand without stereotypes, assumptions based on very little information, judgments based just on the glimpse of insight we would live in very uncertain, scary world. On the other hand we must realize that just by replacing this vast feeling of uncertainty with wild guesses based on overdue, antagonistic statistics we’re doing just that – making arguments from pure ignorance.
Understanding this simple fact is a step one for mind-proofing yourself from being manipulated into doing things that aren’t really beneficial to you. Again don’t get me wrong – many irrational decisions or acts can have very positive outcome, an epic win conclusion. But good rule of thumb is to make sure that your acts are targeted into meeting your preferences (even if your preference is to selflessly help others) and that your preferences are yours indeed – not instilled by others.
Do you agree, disagree? Please, share your opinion. I will be more than glad to take discussion on this further.
Take good care
– Przemek Kucia
P.S. Talk from Neil Tyson covering (apart from other issues) argument from ignorance. Enjoy.