Socrates once said,” I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing”.
He was right; we can only know that we don’t know anything. Despite this, we often declare truths with 100 percent conviction and certainty. We get into heated debates over politics and religion with both sides certain they’re right. We argue with such certainty about the existence of God but neither believers nor non-believers can know they are right. Still, both sides push their beliefs on others as if they are certain truths.
So what’s the problem with thinking we’re right?
When we’re certain we’re right, we don’t leave room to consider alternative possibilities. We’ll do anything to defend our egos even if it means arguing in favor of an incorrect point of view. Our defense mechanisms go up and the chances of coming together and finding solutions diminish. As a result, we have things like war, poverty, and economic decline; truly tragic situations.
We’re predisposed to see a tiny part of the surrounding reality, and we presume the rest doesn’t exist. We’re not seeing a direct representation of reality but rather a version created by our eyes and mind. Thus, we need an awareness that our presumptions, judgments, and opinions are not always correct. Continue reading below to find out why.
1. You have a blind spot
No matter how intelligent, wise, or experienced you are, you have a blind spot; all humans do. This means that we miss whatever events fall into that field of view.
How to find your blind spot?
To find your blind spot, look at the special picture of the red and green dot. Close your right eye and look at the green dot. Gradually move your head towards the picture until the red dot disappears. This is your blind spot, and you notice that it’s filled with white in your mind like nothing’s missing from your view. Oftentimes when we form decisions, we neglect to consider the possibility that we’re not considering the information missed by our blind spot. Some people live their entire lives with no knowledge of their blind spots.
What events could have occurred in the blind spot that you’re missing?
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2. You aren’t capable of seeing 98 percent of what’s really there
Humans are only capable of seeing the narrow sliver of light called visible light. Visible light includes all the colors of the rainbow. However, we’re incapable of seeing the 98 percent of the light spectrum that’s left.
This is truly incredible if you think about it. Imagine how much we’re not capable of perceiving. All this energy is out there, yet since we can’t see it, we presume it’s not there. Although it’s far-fetched, it’s possible alien life forms could exist in one of these wavelengths of light we cannot see. The possibilities are limitless.
3. Your memories are often inaccurate
“Memory is deceptive because it is colored by today’s events,” said Albert Einstein. We’re often confident about our memories, declaring them with certainty. However, scientists have successfully proven that it’s possible to produce false memories in mice. These false memories are the same in strength as real memories. Lawyers and psychologists have been aware of these facts for years.
The implications of these findings are huge; eyewitness testimony was responsible for putting 75 percent of people in prison who were eventually exonerated by DNA testing. Still, they spent years in prison due to faulty testimony, and it’s likely some were even executed. It’s not even that the testimonies were lies, they were just simply wrong.
Although we can’t be certain about anything, it doesn’t mean that we should drop all rules and regulations. It means that we should have an awareness of the limits of our perception and hold off on formulating our opinions until thoroughly consider the alternatives. Instead of arguing with our emotions, we should argue logically and truly see another point of view. Next time you’re feeling certain, challenge yourself to consider you could be wrong and see the beauty that arises.