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samedi 25 mars 2017


It is a slow saturday morning here in the Reservation of the UmonHon Indians. 
Today is the last day I have to send in evaluations of the 7 speakers assigned to me for evaluation.
It is a long laborious process, and often I end up learning so much more. Because you are looking at the lifelong research work or career of a particular person, sometimes young and sometimes older.
Also once you are a particular site, you are attracted to something similar.
Attributing ones own errors and perceptions to others have recently become much more accepted at the higher levels of the US Government, so I decided to look up the human nature,magnified in some, decreased in others, that makes people feel that they are right, and the others are wrong. even worse, the others are morons who have to be shown the right way.
Years ago, I had read a book called The Practical Neuroscience of Buddha's Brain by Rick Hanson and Richard Mendius. It was recommended to me by the only person in Sioux City, Iowa, USA who reads widely, my good friend SA, and I remember that conversation, after which I went and got a copy of the book, which I was fortunate enough to give as gift to that good doctor of Kuala Trengganu,Malaysia  Datuk Menon!

Something like the following I remembered from that book: If you find the behaviour of another person unacceptable or distasteful, please remember he may have 2000 reasons to behave so, and you may know only one or two and dont base your asessment of him on that little knowledge.

Sadhguru the South Indian mystic has also repeatedly mentioned that in his discourses, to be able to live happily with things you do not like is a huge blessing.

The yogic philosophy teaches us to calm down the structural defects in our brain, and I feel that the attachment we have to ourselves and our ways of thinking and ego and self esteem is the opposite side of the coin of finding aversion in the thinking of others and their conviction that they are right when we know or think that they are wrong.

what do social psychologists think about this?
I came across a write up on a Stanford University Psychology Professor in the Journal of National Academy of Sciences , and I cut and paste it here with some comments of mine.

 This influential paper by Ross in 1977 introduced the term “the intuitive psychologist” and explored the various cognitive and motivational biases that people are susceptible to when interpreting data. He also coined the term “fundamental attribution error” to describe the tendency to attribute someone’s behavior to their individual characteristics and attitudes, while underestimating the influence that the actual situation might have had. (quoted from National academy of Sciences)
As an anthropologist I see the bias and its ill effects when doctors confront patients and attribute their illnesses to personal traits or of the group they belong to, whereas forgetting the social and historic determinants of that wrongly accused behavior, very true to the health care given to Native Americans.

This phenomenon involves a concept known as naïve realism that Ross considers to be central to social psychology. “We think the world is the way we perceive it to be, and we expect other people to see it the same way,” he says. “So, when they see it differently and disagree with us, we tend to attribute it to their stupidity, their lack of attention, their lack of information, their biases, or something else that is preventing them from seeing it accurately.”

Conflict resolution
 “You make some progress when people who are frustrated with each other come to see the problem in terms of characteristics that make us all human rather than the unique negative characteristics of people on the other side of the conflict,” he says.

At his inaugural address as newly elected National Academy of Sciences, he explained how liberal and conservative Christians reconciled their belief in the context of their religious belief

People with fundamental religous beliefs whether they are christians or muslims or jews, would somehow come to term with their personal  beliefs in society, by attributing it to Jesus or Torah or Quran. We are at least lucky in that we have Talmud which is an ongoing commentary over the centuries on the Torah,and many Jews are Talmudists rather than have absolute faith in the Torah. Right now in the USA there is a discussion whether a Conservative (plus Christian) can support such humanitarian values as freedom of the oppressed (refugees) or expression (abortion, social inequality) without being branded a "liberal" and a traitor, and those who thus confronted find the resolution of the conflict in none other than Jesus, as I am sure the Jews do, as well as the moderate and radical Islamists in their holy book.

so if all of us learned about this theory, or understand the theory, we will not be blaming our friends and lovers for their inadequacy or lack of understanding but rather feel compassion towards them. We also will have more friends and lovers.
American Indians have a prayer: