CE Insight: We Don't Know What We Don't Know
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I've been preparing an essay called "Everyone Thinks Everyone Else is Wrong" for the past week, and intend on releasing it soon here.
I was inspired to do this piece when I saw 5 different brands/influencers write about the Dunning Kruger Effect (DKE) in the span of a week.
The DKE states that people with low ability, expertise, or experience regarding a type of task or area of knowledge tend to overestimate their ability or knowledge
We don't know what we don't know, and with the lack of knowledge, we can be ignorant about the fact that we are ignorant.
In the context of current events, our lack of knowledge about something gives us more confidence in our conclusion than we should have.
The antidote to this bias is to accept that, generally, the more we know, the more we embrace uncertainty and don't get lost in jumping to certain conclusions. We get closer to the truth.
The interesting thing about the brands and influencers writing about the DKE was they were all holding very staunch positions about something they were fighting for, and using the DKE to explain how their opponents were wrong.
Perhaps this leads to another fallacy we can often get caught up in called the Bias Blindspot.
It states that we will more easily see bias in others, thinking that it only affects other people or another side and not ourselves or our side.
Why are we often unwilling to observe our own potential bias'?
The widespread reality of Blindspot Bias is partly why Dr. Setty and I created a bias course. In our modern day and age, it truly is THAT important to be aware of.
Perhaps the Dunning Kruger Effect has been incredibly evident in the recent discussion of UFOs and aliens in mainstream culture following the recent congressional hearing on UFOs.
The immediate reaction from many influencers in the alternative community was: "Well, the government is talking about aliens, so it must not be true, or must be a distraction."
The interesting thing about this right off the top is the DKE is evident in some folks. Those who clearly know little about the UFO phenomenon and the rigor behind it are quick to be confident in positions that, quite frankly, are silly.
Little knowledge of the issue leads to a lack of knowledge of the ignorance of the strongly held position.
The other intriguing part of this is it shows how easy it would be for government to manipulate the minds of people.
If people let their sensemaking be this simple and basic, all the government has to do is say one thing and everyone would believe the opposite was true. i.e. UFOs and aliens must not be real, because the government said they were real.
Governments could have great control over people's minds regardless of what common sense or evidence might say.
Note that this doesn't mean we have to believe the government, mainstream media, or any alternative media source, but that critical thinking and embodied sensemaking actually have to be embraced.
Nonetheless, it has been interesting to observe what has been going on these last couple of weeks, especially within a field that prides itself on critical thinking.
The takeaway today:
It's important to consider The Dunning Kruger Effect and the Bias Blindspot fallacy as it's prevalent in our society.
We don't have to oversimplify our sensemaking with made-up rules or laziness in how we explore topics.
We begin to get lost when we say things like:
"It was in mainstream media, it must be false."
"The government said it, it must be false."
Or when we jump to staunch conclusions about something we really don't know much about (The DKE).
Finally, I'm passionate about the process I call embodied sensemaking for a reason: I believe it's part of how we can move forward meaningfully individually and collectively.
In our world, sensemaking leads to how we make decisions individually and collectively. I believe it's meant to be done with a spirit of playfulness, wonder, and curiosity.
The idea of embodied sensemaking is to bring the mind, body, emotions and intuition into the picture as a full sensory experience. With this, we can be more aware of how we react to conversation, news, and situations, and where we might get stuck or be bias. We also have access to more than our cognitive capacities to sense and feel - but we don't trade away our cognitive capacity.
To avoid further polarization and the move toward true unity, it's important to take the time to slow down, attune to our body, and gain a better understanding of our biases.
We can't move forward on the road to solutions without being able to agree on things as a community. What does it take for us to come to the table in good faith and explore what's happening?
How do we know when we are caught in our own bias?
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