Friday, March 6, 2015

Unknown Unknowns

Daniel Kahneman, among other things, pointed out that the mind naturally works by going on what it sees and knows, but...

"There are unknown unknowns," as Donald Rumsfeld so famously said, and these are the things that we need to seek out. Obviously, the tendency of the mind to just look at what it sees and knows and go no further is crucial to cult loyalty, and reaching past that tendency is the only way out.

To quote Kahneman, "A mind that follows WYSIATI [what you see is all there is] will achieve high confidence much too easily by ignoring what it does not know. We focus on what we know and neglect what we do not know, which makes us overly confident in our beliefs."

Outside information "is routinely discarded when it is incompatible with one's personal impressions... In the competition with the inside view, the outside view doesn't stand a chance."

"It is therefore not surprising that many of us are prone to have high confidence in unfounded intuitions."

Thus, as a secluded and information-starved cult member, whose only source of outside news was weeks-old compiled and edited news articles supplied for our supposed convenience by cult leadership, I had no concept of the vast amounts of knowledge that did not come from the cult source. Of course, I talked with outsiders, but everything went through the filter of what I already "knew" to be true, i.e., my firmly held beliefs.

Thankfully, we now have the internet with its anarchy of knowledge and pseudo-knowledge to allow us to search out other sides to issues. IMHO, the internet was the undoing of the COG/TFI.

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