We Tend to Think We’re the Openminded One During an Argument

Taken at the Tree People preserve in Los Angeles

The other day a friend of mine made the following comment, “You know how generous I am, almost to a fault.”

Hmmmm … not really.

Sorry, dear friend, but you’re really not quite as generous as you think you are. Our closest friends and relatives rarely see themselves the way we do. I might add that the reverse is also true. People who have the honor of living with us or close to us see a side of us that mere acquiantances often don’t. Most certainly they see us differently than we see ourselves.

Relax. We all suffer from brain glitches that make it almost impossible to see the world though someone else’s eyes.

The human brain in all of its glory lacks self awareness while at the same time is highly susceptible to the Dunning Kruger effect, denial, wishful thinking, lack of knowledge, misinformation, self reflection, close mindedness, indoctrination, and a world view that we adopted long before our brain’s were fully developed.

Even though I made a quick list of the above brain glitches with words that the average person casually throws around, I’m pretty confident that most of us, maybe all of us, tend to apply those words to others not ourselves.

The “others” are the wishful thinkers while also believing that they know more about a topic than they really do. Our own brains, however, are highly developed, only influenced by the best thinkers and the most advanced culture.

We all do this.

One might think that humans would have a desire to solve the big problems we face by puttiing their heads together in order to find the best information available. I mean if we can manage to solve our mutual problems together that benefits everyone. Right?

Apparently, that’s not how we think either.

Unfortunately, we quickly resort to labeling a person with a different point of view as hopelessly stupid. That isn’t very helpful. If our goal is to reach a consensus on what is true and what isn’t, well, we’re fucked. And, if we can’t even agree upon who the experts may be or are continually sidetracked by conspiracy theories, getting something done, ANYTHING done, becomes less and less likely.

We choose instead to argue until it’s too late.

What a shame that we may very well have the tools and the knowledge we need to fix a problem that’s plaguing society, but instead, we waste valuable time by hotly debating any solution until time runs out.

We’re then forced to settle quickly on doing something, ANYTHING, before the ship goes down. So much for planning and implementing a well thought out solution. Good luck with that!

When a society or a community shares the same goals things get easier. But it’s harder than it ever was to do that. First we have to agree on whether a problem even exists.

That’s no longer an easy thing to do either.

We’ve become extremely splintered in America which is a state of affairs well beyond divided. Now, when we try to have a conversation, we rarely find ourselves on the same page. We can’t even agree that a particular problem exists.

Climate change is a good example.

But even when we do agree that’s there’s a problem, we rarely take the next step these days because of differences. Our crumbling infrastructures are a good example of that. I don’t think that anyone in America would argue that we’ve neglected our infrastructures for far too long, almost 50 years too long. Yet, we’re still fumbling with the fix, how to do the fix, where the money should come from, and who should do the fix.

Actually, our old infrastructures are not only falling apart but are no longer appropriate for the world we now occupy.

Climate change and advanced technologies have made our old crumbling infrastructures obsolete, but hey, who’s willing to agree on that.

Maybe Biden’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will give us the money needed to turn the corner at last. This bill is the largest of its kind in fifty years.

I’m holding my breath with my fingers crossed in hopes that this will be the catalyst to finally get something done when it comes to our dilapidated infrastructure.

If there was ever a time when cooperation needs to trump competition, allowing open-mindedness to new ideas to become a model for creative problem solving, that time is now. But will we?

Or is it even a question of will we?

Maybe we can’t? Maybe we’re destined to decline as a species due to the very thing that brought us the rapid progress of the 20th century —our big brain. It appears that although we are impressive creators our big brains also have a tendency to sabotage our well being.

Maybe we’ll keep pointing our fingers at one another until it’s too damn late, convinced that the other guy is the stupid one.

Teresa Roberts is a retired educator, author, world traveler, and professional myth buster. You can find her books on Amazon.



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Teresa Roberts

Teresa Roberts


Teresa is an author, world traveler, and professional myth buster. She’s also a top writer on climate change and the future.