Errors in Thinking (and how to avoid them)

The basic problem – ” Mine is better”

Mine is better :

My house is more expensive

My children are better behaved

My accomplishments are more numerous

My ideas , beliefs and values are more insightful and profound than other peoples

 

Mine is better tendency is innate

 

For many people , most of the time, the “mine is better” tendency is balanced by the awareness that other people feel the same way about their things and it is an unavoidable part of being human.

 

Balance –

Many people realize that we all see ourselves in a special way, different from everything that is not ourselves , and whatever we associate with ourselves becomes part of us in our minds.

 

People who have this understanding and are reasonably secure and self- confident can control the mine- is – better  tendency

 

The Problem

  • Some people do not understand/recognize that each person has a special viewpoint
  • For these people, mine is better is not an attitude that everyone has about his or her things
  • Rather it’s a special higher truth about their situation , that others do other individuals or other groups  do not possess
  • Psychologists classify such people as:
  • Egocentric
  • Ethnocentric

 

Egocentric people –

  • Egocentric  means centered or focused on oneself and only concerned about ones own  interests , needs and views
  • They tend to practice EGOSPEAK (term coined by addeo & berger ) ” The art of boosting our own egos  by speaking only about ourselves

Ego think –

Because egocentric people have very narrow habits of mind you can infer they produce egothink.

 

Egothink refers to the observation that egocentric people have a very difficult time seeing issues from a variety of  viewpoints.

 

The world exists for them and is defined by their beliefs and  values

 

ETHNOCENTRIC

 

  • Means excessively  centered or focused on  ones group
  • ***excessively****
  • We can all feel a connection or sense of identification with our racial/ethnic group , religion , or culture without being ethnocentric.

 

We can very well prefer the company of people who share our heritage and perspective over the company of other without being tolerant.

 

Why? Because the familiar is naturally more comfortable  than the unfamiliar and to pretend other wise is to delude ourselves.

 

There is a difference

 

What distinguishes ethnocentric  individuals from those who feel a healthy sense of indentification with their group is that ethnocentric people believe :

 

  1. That their group is not merely different from other groups but  fundamentally superior to them.
  2. That the motivations  and intentions from other groups are suspect.

 

These beliefs create bias that blocks critical thinking

 

The ethnocentric response style :

Mine is better thinking

 

  • Ethnocentric people are eager to challenge the views of other groups but are UNWILLING TO EVER QUESTION THE VIEWS  OF THEIR OWN GROUP.
  • They acknowledge NO MIDDLE  ground to issues , things are ALL ONE WAY, the way that accords with their groups perspective.
  • Ethnocentric people also tend to form negative STEREOTYPES of other groups

 

Mine is better  thinking

-Our preference for our own way of thinking can prevent us form identifying  flaws in our own ideas , as well as from seeing and  building on other people’s ideas. For example:

 

  • Our pride in our own religion can lead us to dismiss to quickly the beliefs and practices  of other religions and  ignore mistakes in our religious history.
  • Our preference for our own political party may make us support less qualified candidates and programs.
  • Our allegiance to our opinions can shut us off from other perspectives, blind us to unfamiliar truths , and enslaves us to yesterdays conclusions.

 

The most basic problems

Readiness to accept uncritically those who appeal to our preconceived notions leaves us vulnerable to those who would manipulate for their own purposes

  • Historians say this is why Hitler succeeded in taking control of Germany

 

Gaining control over mine is better thinking .

 

We must keep in mind that like other people, we too are prone to it , and its influence will be strongest when the subject is one that we really care about.

 

Be alert of mine is better in YOU-

-signals of mine is better thinking can be found in both our  feelings and in our thinking

 

In feelings – pleasant and favorable ; the desire or sensation to embrace a statement or argument without evaluating / appraising it further. Or very unpleasant , negative sensations ; the desire to attack and denounce a statement instantly.

 

In thoughts: Ideas such as “I’m glad that experts are taking such a position that experts are taking such a position -” I’ve thought this all along”   No use in wasting time analyzing this evidence -it must be conclusive.

 

 

 

 

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