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The Most Important Thing

The most important thing? by definition this should be something we focus most if not all our energy and resources into… but just what is the most important thing? If we’re asking this question then the most important thing is figuring out what the most important thing is isn’t it?

One of the most fundamental question is “how do you know it’s true?” When our mind jumps to a conclusion how do we know what we arrive at is the truth rather than something we formed from arbitrary thoughts and twisted from our cognitive biases. There must be a method for discovering the truth.

First perhaps we should define truth. What is it? does it depend on context or is truth always truth? are there different “levels” of truth? example if someone perceives an action to be rude or labels a guy a jerk because they got cut off in traffic is that “their” truth? it’s definitely their perception, it’s subjective.

But It’s not truth, I think the trouble with that is that the person is simplifying that guy, equating him to his one action. people are complex beings with many layers. like maybe if there was a Christmas tree with changing lights wrapped around it then it’s equivalent of calling that tree red. which isn’t true because the lights are only red a small part of the time and there’s so much more to the tree. so the truth is that the guy isn’t a jerk. he may seem like it because we associate him with a jerk that cuts people off in traffic. but feelings don’t depict truth.

in fact that’s what’s dangerous. People feel extremely certain about different things and they feel in their gut that the choice they’re about to make is absolutely correct. So how do you separate the feeling of certainty with truth? in truth the feeling they have is fabricated. fabricated certainty. It’s extremely dangerous and for many people it’s a bottle neck because it stops us from achieving our goals. if we take this to the extreme we can pretend that someone has the goal of losing weight but for whatever reason they are certain that to achieve the goal of weightless they need to start eating McDonald twice as much. a lot of our decisions are based on this feeling of certainty and it operates in a subconscious way. so how do we handle this problem?

There’s another problem as well about people being defensive about being defensive. people already have this habit of rationalizing the decision they already made. a famous example is when they had 4 identical stockings and they had people come to look at each individual one and rate them all in from best to worst. the stocking that the last people saw were rated the highest the majority of the time but when individuals were asked why they chose the stockings they would fabricate and rationalize answers. once they put those in words they become more certain that what they chose was the best because of the reasons they would give. but each sock was identical, so they were rationalizing but it wasn’t rational. they fabricated certainty.

so this may not necessarily directly answer anything but it does open a space for things that can be filled in. we’ve made the distinction between fabricated certainty and truth. In the next writing I will try to build more understanding and clarity on this subject

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