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Mystery Of The Mind

Discussion in 'Snippets of Life (Non-Fiction)' started by Viswamitra, May 29, 2022.

  1. Rihana

    Rihana Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    During the pandemic we had time at home to talk about why I/we dislike a few long time neighbors for little or no reason. I did some research (or looked for answers that I liked) and found these:
    Why Your Brain Hates Other People (Robert Sapolsky)
    Why do I instinctively dislike someone? - PsychMechanics (More readable than Robert Sapolsky)

    I've found myself to be the harshest on myself. I am unforgiving of my past mistakes. I doubt my decisions more than it is helpful to me. I scold myself in language that if used on friends, I'd soon have zero left.
     
  2. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra IL Hall of Fame

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    Thank you for your response and for sharing two links that explains why we hate/dislike someone @Rihana. But isn't it our past experiences that determine that hatrate without any justification for that specific individual? Why do we punish someone for our perceptions? How do we validate whether our perceptions are real? What is the process we used for such cognition?

    I've found myself to be the harshest on myself.

    Why? You benchmark yourself against what standard? Is it set by the society, family, friends or your own standard?

    I am unforgiving of my past mistakes.

    Why? How do you determine your mistakes? What is the benchmark you apply for determining your mistakes? Do you evaluate all of your actions or only some that you determine clearly as mistakes. What is the process of such determination?

    I doubt my decisions more than it is helpful to me.

    Why do you lack confidence in your decisions? What is your process for decision-making? What is the percentage of good decisions vs bad decisions? Do you evaluate all of your decisions and if so against what benchmark? Who determines such benchmark?

    I scold myself in language that if used on friends, I'd soon have zero left.

    Why you apply different standards for yourself as opposed to your friends? Is it because you don't trust your decisions? What is causing it?
     
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  3. Rihana

    Rihana Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    The links have answers to the above questions that I agree with.

    Those are questions worth reflecting on, Viswa. However, I was only saying that I find myself the opposite of "Whereas, when it comes to evaluating myself, the mind stands its ground and project myself as flawless and unambiguous individual. "
     
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  4. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra IL Hall of Fame

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    @Rihana,

    I should have been clear in my communication. I was not expecting you to answer these questions. I was mentioning them as contemplative questions only.
     
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  5. Rihana

    Rihana Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    OK. Got it. : )

    If you get a chance do share what you think of the second's link take on the scientific reasons why we judge people preemptively.
     
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  6. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra IL Hall of Fame

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    I did go through the second link. All of the reasons they have mentioned in the article were valid and shows a good understanding of how our mind works. Only one of them was a pleasant surprise. That is hating people with the same flaws as us as we want to walk away thinking about those flaws. I felt I would relate with that person to work together or learn how to remove that flaw.
     
  7. Rihana

    Rihana Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Thanks for engaging, Viswa. I was actually going to start a thread but my thoughts are only half-baked so didn't. About hating or the more palatable "disliking" people for no reason, I ended up looking more into it due to a funny incident:

    During the pandemic, better-half and I started the practice of late afternoon weekday walks. Out for such a walk, I spied a couple some distance away. I don't like the woman. I told DH, "Hi bolo aur chalo. No kumbh mela long lost milan." (quick hi only, no kumbh mela lost bro's reunion). Maybe I shouldn't have said that for he waved to them, said Hi loudly through mask, crossed the road and started walking towards them. I of course had to follow.

    After a minute of catch-up, the men showed no signs of saying "ok then bye nice catching up". The woman and I made no pretense of talking beyond Hi. She was finding the city sprinklers in the grass at our feet very fascinating. I was admiring the far away wall mural painted by kids in our elementary school. I got tired of my fake half-smile and the wall mural. I did the "look at phone and say Oh I have a Zoom call coming up.." and smiled, said bye and started to move away. Better-half didn't join. I went home.

    Later I was informed that what I did was rude. And "but why do you dislike her so strongly?" I ended up doing research after that. I found couple of possible reasons in Sapolsky's article that explained my dislike. Related articles told me that as long as I was civil to the woman, could work with her if required, and could find a few basic coping methods, I was fine. I didn't have to change the dislike to anything softer or nobler.

    To complete this story, the reason for dislike was that she had a way of emphasizing how she was different than the rest of us. Over the years, we were on fundraiser and school event teams together. She used to always avoid us desi women and hang around only with the whites. We saw this in event pictures also. And what irritated me no end was once we were cleaning up after an event. Madam was trying to move a storage bin with wheels and a pull-handle. Not heavy at all. But she had to walk across the huge school forum and request my husband to help her with it. In her clickity-clack heels.

    I digressed. :neutral:

    TL;DR: It's ok to dislike as long as you manage the dislike. Googling will show the science behind the dislike.
     
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  8. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra IL Hall of Fame

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    You have explained good reasons for disliking her. She identifies herself with the Whites and she willfully didn’t mix with desi women. She expressed superiority over the incident on pushing the storage bin. But I would say the criteria for disliking someone is way too higher for men which explains why your husband crossed over the road to speak to a friend. Perhaps women set high standards for themselves and other women.
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2022
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  9. Gauri03

    Gauri03 Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Very insightful snippet Viswa! Incidentally, these ideas that have been, and are, the subject of active research in social science. In fact the next book on my reading list is 'The Scout Mindset' by Julia Galef, a UC Berkeley researcher who has proposed a very similar theory of how the mind engages with evidence when it goes against ingrained beliefs.

    She proposes that we engage with the world using two mindsets. She calls them the 'Soldier' mindset and the 'Scout' mindset. When we engage with a soldier mindset, we are reacting emotionally with a need to prove ourselves right, or defend our stance. Our mind automatically filters out or selectively interprets information to bolster preexisting beliefs. The objective is to prove the opponent wrong at all costs. On the other hand the scout mindset is grounded in curiosity. When scouts encounter evidence that counters their beliefs they react with a desire to understand the whys and hows, instead of defensiveness. The scout mindset is rooted in a healthy self-confidence; their self-worth is not tied to their beliefs. Scouts are reflective and rational. This allows them to change their beliefs without feeling threatened. While reading your snippet I couldn't help but think that you are a perfect example of the scout mindset. : )

    No one is all soldier or all scout, but the goal should be to cultivate a value system that isn't tied up with our egos. I think you gave us the perfect prescription on how to accomplish this in the quote below.

     
  10. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra IL Hall of Fame

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    What a delightful response this is loaded with so much information about how the mind works! Thank you for sharing information about Julia Galef's book, "The Scout Mindset". I have never heard of this term before and I will now remember this for the rest of my life. Many business leaders have misread how the mind works and relied on the posts in the social media to understand the behavior of the consumer. They forget everyone has two sides, a) What one likes to project and b) what they really are. Sandy Pentland, MIT's Big Data Guy recently differentiated in his article the difference between people's behavior and their beliefs. The rich information about the behavior can only be judged from the location data, health and credit card information. Only telecommunication, healthcare and banking industries have this information which are regulated. Therefore, he said in order to create a data-driven society, there should be an alliance of actual consumer, businesses, regulators and the industries that gather crucial information.

    Earlier I believed that only by changing what I receive, how I react and how I respond would change my mind and now I have reset my mind that I need to tune my mind to understand how new information is processed, what other previous experiences are taken into account while processing the new information, and how open I am to change my belief system or values, if necessary. It is not easy as the ego will resist any changes especially when the mind has lived longer with some firmly established beliefs. I know I am always a work-in-progress.
     
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