Friday, November 22, 2013

Cognitive Miser Lens

A "Cognitive Miser" convinces himself that he (or she) is protecting "truth" ... but what if one is wrong about the "truth" one surmises?

Historically, and yet still today, millions of people put their theories of "truth" ahead of their humanity. Turning on the news will enlighten us as to what many people do in the name of truth.

The Cognitive Miser Lens is a costly viewpoint for the world's citizens to hoard.

The Cognitive Miser has existed throughout the course of the history of humanity. Not just in waring times, though war sadly continues, but also in people's personal lives and interactions with others.

Cognitive misery appears in the every day judgmental thoughts that people hold and is present when individuals stop themselves from being more understanding in the name of some preconceived truth.

Can truth be "truth" if it is preconceived? How could we claim to know "truth" before having discovered it? How could we legitimately hold one "truth" over another? Would that not then turn the "other truth" into a "lesser truth" by comparison?

How could "truth" ever be lesser? By nature of its definition, is it must be equal in its truthfulness. 

Take for example a highly memorable quarrel between the character Sheldon and his girlfriend, Amy Farrah Fowler in "The Zazzy Substitution" (3rd episode of the 4th season) of The Big Bang Theory television show. Sheldon claims that because the world is made of matter that physics is the most fundamental of the special sciences, and whatever is the most fundamental to physics would explain everything else. Amy staunchly disagrees with Sheldon, and the following dialogue ensues: 

Amy: Absolutely not. My colleagues and I are mapping the neurological substrates that subserve global information processing, which is required for all cognitive reasoning, including scientific inquiry, making my research ipso facto prior in the ordo cognoscendi. That means it's better than his research, and [to everyone else at the table] by extension, of course, yours.

Sheldon: Excuse me, but a grand unified theory, insofar as it explains everything, will ipso facto explain neurobiology. 

Amy: Yes, but if I'm successful, I will be able to map and reproduce your thought processes in deriving a grand unified theory, and therefore, subsume your conclusions under my paradigm. 

Could anyone claim superiority for the possession of "knowledge" when "knowledge" is an ever-evolving worldview dependent on geography, culture, gender, viewpoint, the way a study is conducted, human error, and so forth?

Did not Voltaire warn:

At this point in time, I can only personally claim to "know" three things about the world:

(1) that I cannot, in my present state and form, claim to "know" anything with certainty; 

(2) that I exist; and

(3) that whatever the inner workings of the universe may or may not be, that I am, at present, happy to be part of it. 

For me, truth is not as important as existing. Our existence is perhaps the only "truth" we can claim beyond the veil of ignorance that envelops our species. Whether there is one or many who know other truths than those which our species has uncovered or has yet to discover is unknown, and perhaps not as important as simply knowing that we are part of this thing we call "existence".

It is this not knowing that our minds must allow for, that our minds must accept as a fundamental truth and from that recognize that what we know is subject to change and largely dependent on one's own perspective or viewpoint.

The Cognitive Miser has closed his mind off to the possibility What if...? he mistakingly and authoritatively claims that he has discovered "truth" when in reality the ONLY thing he has discovered the LIMIT of his imagination and the THRESHOLD of his ability to suspend judgment.

Cognitive Misery claims one law as a governing agent over the entirety of nature, claims one person's perspective is more valid than that of another, and claims that it is possible for one person to know while the rest of the world's population exists in a state of utter ignorance.

In simple terms: 

Cognitive Misery is the belief that one is "right" 
while others are "wrong".

What value can one derive from accepting a state of being whose foundation is built upon not knowing? 

Individuals react to the sentiment of not knowing in two distinct ways:

(1) by feeling "poor" before an entire universe, thereby grasping at and hoarding "truths"  

(2) by feeling "rich" in their knowing that they do not know and are thusly open to learning and discovery.

In accepting this state of not knowing, would one not then be naturally inclined toward a sense of responsibility or duty for every thought and action?

When one is stripped bare of one's pretenses, does not earnestness for self-understanding naturally arise?

In reality, what we know comes to far too little... what we presume, far too much. Other than being of the mindset and perception that we exist, that we might always exist irrespective of the form (or even that we might not always exist)... either way, we exist "now".

Whether existence is a matter of choice or not, I cannot know. What I surmise from this existence, however, is that everything we think and do is a matter of choice. Everything we feel is a matter of how comfortable we are with existing in a state of not knowing. Everything we think and/or create is a representation of that existence, and everything we "feel" is simply a matter for ourselves, for our own delight or pleasure (or torment). 

Finding harmony between existence and being "okay" with existing and not knowing why we exist is perhaps all we might be capable of doing... in doing, we become part of what which we seek.

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