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Red Pills and Red Queens


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Humans suffer from a lot of biases.

Although that word, "suffer" isn't accurate.

We have biases for a reason.

It's just that in modern times, our instincts are kind of out of date.

Normalcy bias, for example, makes us assume things are "normal" when evidence suggests otherwise.

In the past, this kept us focus on the task at hand.

Those who stopped at the first sign of trouble tended to not survive as much, over the long haul, than those who IGNORED signs of trouble and kept going.

Another modern bias that trips us up but worked well in the past is confirmation bias.

This helps us to filter for what we are looking for, and nothing else.

Of course, confirmation bias is only a "problem" today when others disagree with us.

We WANT them to see our point of view, but they refuse.

So we give them the negative label of having confirmation bias.

Consider, though, that every single trait we have, both good and bad, HELPED us in some way in the past.

One common label that is being tossed around quite a bit today is "red pill."

This, of course, comes from the movie, "The Matrix."

But they borrowed it from Alice in Wonderland.

Alice in Wonderland is where they get the term, "down the rabbit hole."

Alice followed a rabbit, down a rabbit hole, and the deeper she got, the more crazier things got.

She was given an opportunity to choose between two pills.

The very SAME two pills reference in the Jefferson Starship song, "White Rabbit."

The Red Queen is also a character that Alice met.

She was running on a treadmill.

She famously said you've got to keep running just to stay in place.

This label, "The Red Queen," was used as the title for a pretty well known book, about evolution.

The idea is that evolution is kind of an "arms race."

That you have to keep going forward, to stay even.

We humans certainly love our metaphors and labels.

But we also make some common errors.

One of them is mistaking the "map" for the "territory."

Metaphors are necessarily much SIMPLER than the complex thing they are describing.

Because if we actually HAD to speak accurately, just talking about an idea in your brain would take a LOT of time.

Even that word, "idea" is a metaphor.

A vastly oversimplified description of the MASSIVE neural activity in your brain.

It's very easy to get caught up in all the metaphors and labels being tossed around.

Which is why understanding HOW the mind can help.

The mind as metaphor maker.

The mind as label giver.

Understand THIS and you'll know more than all the other metaphor collectors out there.

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