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LEARNING HOW TO SEE


Podcast series with Brian McLaren, Dr. Jacqui Lewis, and Fr. Richard Rohr

Based on McLaren’s ebook, Why Don't They Get It?

Weblink to download podcasts, and link to resources.


“Why can’t others ‘see’ the truth of what I’m saying?” “How can others be so blind?” During these days of crisis in America you might wonder, “How did we get to the point where Americans see things SO differently!


Well, part of the answer lies in the “biases” that we each use to filter what we hear, what we see, what we believe, and how we interpret events in the world around us.


For example, one common bias that many of us are familiar with is “Confirmation Bias.” Confirmation Bias is operating when we take in new information but tend to dismiss as “untrue” the parts that don’t agree with what we already believe to be true, and accept the parts that “confirm” what we already believe to be true.


Confirmation Bias can actually prevent us from considering other perspectives, from expanding our ideas or even from learning new ways of doing things, because our natural tendency is to resist anything that conflicts with our established world view.


There are many biases that operate in our brains every day to help us “filter” the information that we take in. Being aware of our inner biases when we’re talking with others can help us avoid unnecessary conflict and expand our ability to find common ground when we come from different backgrounds or cultures.


Brian McLaren has identified thirteen different biases that act as filters and limit our ability to “see,” or “get” what others are saying, and likewise, limit the ability of others to “see” or “get” what we’re saying. For quick reference I have listed below these thirteen biases, each with a short description.


I highly recommend his Podcast Series that explains each of these thirteen biases in greater detail. The Podcast Series is entitled, “Learning How To See,” which is based on his ebook, “Why Don’t They Get It?” Click this link to take you to these resources.



1. Confirmation Bias: the human brain welcomes information that confirms what it already thinks and resist information that disturbs or contradicts what it already thinks.


2. Complexity Bias: the human brain prefers a simple lie to a complex truth.


3. Community bias: It is very hard to see something your group doesn’t want you to see. This is a form of social confirmation bias.


4. Complementarity bias: If people are nice to you, you’ll be open to what they see and have to say. If they aren’t nice to you, you won’t.


5. Contact bias: If you lack contact with someone, you won’t see what they see.


6. Conservative/Liberal bias: Conservatives and Liberals see the world differently. Liberals see through a “nurturing parent” window, and Conservatives see through a “strict father” window. Liberals value moral arguments based on justice and compassion; conservatives also place a high value on arguments based on purity, loyalty, authority, and tradition. Our brains like to see as our party sees, and we flock with those who see as we do.


7. Consciousness bias: A person’s level of consciousness makes seeing some things possible and others impossible. Our brains see from a location.


8. Competency bias: We are incompetent at knowing how incompetent or competent we are, so we may see less or more than we think. Our brains prefer to think of ourselves as above average.


9. Confidence Bias: We mistake confidence for competence, and we are all vulnerable to the lies of confident people. Our brains prefer a confident lie to a hesitant truth.


10. Conspiracy Bias: When we feel shame, we are vulnerable to stories that cast us as the victims of an evil conspiracy by some enemy “other.” Our brains like stories in which we’re either the hero or the victim ... never the villain.


11. Comfort/Complacency/Convenience Bias: Our brains welcome data that allows us to relax and be happy and reject data that require us to adjust, work, or inconvenience ourselves.


12. Catastrophe/Normalcy Bias: Our brains notice sudden changes for the worse, but we easily miss slow and subtle changes over time. We think what is now normal always was and always will be. Our brains are wired for what feels normal.


13. Cash Bias: It is very hard to see anything that interferes with our way of making a living. Our brains are wired to see within the framework of our economy, and we see what helps us make money.

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