17 October 2007

More on Free Will and "The Black Box"

In a previous post regarding whether or not humans have free will, I talked about what it takes for us to change our behaviors.

I said that you either need to reprogram the black box by taking good care of it or change the inputs to the black box. This page on "Priming and Contamination" from my friends over at Overcoming Bias supports the concept.

They say, "Once an idea gets into your head, it primes information compatible with it - and thereby ensures its continued existence."

This is why support networks are important. This is why it's good to have a disinterested party who can give you critical feedback. This is why reinforcing good thoughts leads to positive outcomes while reinforcing bad thoughts leads to negative outcomes.

If you are an engineer by training, there's a pretty good chance that you are a Myers-Briggs intravert--used to living and reasoning in your own head. But remember, your mental health, the "Commitment to reality at any cost" begins with being able to identify reality. If you do not first take care of yourself and actively collect disinterested points of view, you will bring biases and possibly flawed or distorted beliefs and values into the mix.

Cultivate close trusted relationships besides your immediate family. You will be better for it.

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