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Benefit Of The Doubt

August 15, 2010

This post is written as a follow-up to “Human Nature.”

*Note: I wish I could explain this post further, but due to its inherently integrated nature, more in-depth explanations would only serve to confuse (both others and myself) even more, and so hopefully you are able to derive more a in-depth understanding from your own intuitive abilities. I apologize if this post causes you to “think too much”.

There is a widespread misconception that although behavior modified by prejudice is wrong, that behavior that is determined by that which is known to be true is acceptable; the rationale being that because one’s actions are determined by factual evidence and truth, that ones actions would be justified by the truth upon which they are based.

This kind of thinking, regardless of whether it is valid or not, is detrimental to humanity, because it heavily relies on the subjective interpretation of the truth as a basis for living; furthermore, regardless of whether the interpretation of truth is applied correctly, the resulting bias in one’s actions would inevitably result in psychological displacement, as ones actions are then no longer the product of ones character, but of a subjective interpretation of facts. Such a manner of determining ones behavior is superficial to say the least; promoting all manner of superficial values.

Truth as a foundation for behavior can only result in corrupt behavior, because (as explained in Human Nature) the price of simplicity is corruption. To clarify: even if one knows something to be true, the interpretation of the truth is subjective, as the interpretation of the truth is only that which is relative to that person. The ramifications of any given truth can even extend to a cosmic level, and so to truth the correctly assess the meaning of a given truth is infeasible– because we aren’t God. As such, even if one know something to be true, it would be wrong to let one’s actions be biased by that truth, because we don’t actually know that such truth even means!

A classic example of the misapplication of truth can be found in the field of statistics. Statistics are raw data, meaningless before they are interpreted– but here’s the rub: statistics can be logically interpreted to support just about anything. Sure, there are some ways that statistics are more naturally interpreted, but even then our interpretation is limited to the bias of what we already know.

Statistics being inaccurately applied because of misinformation has been prevalent throughout history. Although I don’t have the time or patience to detail these accounts, statistics have been applied to justify witch trials, prove that the soul exists (and weighs 21 grams), that Match.com works, that global warming exists, and that the world is going to end in 2012. All of these claims are based upon very reliable statistics, which is why so many people believe in these things (even though all of them are bullshit, IMO).

If the statistics are accurate, why do they result in so much misconception in the world? Is it because they were interpreted wrong? No! That’s what most people might think, but it is that very mindset that has caused so much prejudice in the world. The misconceptions are there because they were interpreted at all.

By treating your own understanding of the truth as objective truth, regardless of whether that interpretation is considered to be the consensus, you are trying to simplify the infinitely complex (because every truth has infinite possible interpretations), and the end-product of this is corruption.

While truth is inherently pure, it becomes corrupt when people try to control it– to own it. So when you try to understand the truth as if it were your own knowledge, you have already become prejudiced, because you have valued your own understanding of the truth above all others. If absolute power corrupts absolutely, and knowledge is power, then surely all knowledge can be corrupted by those who seek to possess it.

It is human nature to believe that one must possess something in order to make use of that. This animal instinct, which in more sophisticated form is known as the Ego, is no longer relevant. Possession is no longer needed to do anything; rather, the need to possess has become a detriment to society, as it leads to misunderstanding. To truly appreciate something, one must let go of the need to possess, as such a need is the root of all bias, and therefore also of prejudice.

There is only one way out of this maze of corruption, and that is humility: Being willing to accept that you simply do not know. By accepting the limits of your own perception, you are able better understand and experience the world, because you mind will have become free of the prejudice that is such an integral part of human nature.

To accept that you do not know anything with certainty, and will never know anything with certainty– this is the key to freedom from prejudice, and by extension the key to achieving true free will. This is the true Benefit of the Doubt.

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