Bias is fun,when understood 2/12/2008

Bias is fun when understood

If we call our biology our hardware and our cultural achievements like religion, language etc our software, not all what we have in our hardware is good, neither is all what we have in our software. One of the basic mechanisms of how we function is our bias.

There is one basic reality in our biology which helps us understand sociological reactions; our belief systems and even our language. We understand and react  with the basic format of self/ non-self to our world and to each other. This can be seen on the cellular level and even on the immunological level.  Every single cell being reacts and tries to survive with this mechanism. This again is neither good, nor bad, but a biological reality.

Everyone can see the changes in the language by looking at 10 -20 year old newspapers. The constant change is obvious if you listen to the language different generations speak within the same town.

Everyone will accept the fact that she/he looks at “others” living in a different district with a certain “natural” bias. And as no one will be able to react to everyone else and get to know “them” he will have natural prejudices.

Imagine! In prehistoric times a tribe became so numerous that a part of that tribe went off to live in the mountains, the rest staying in the plains. The connection between the two groups became less and less. Different languages developed and different belief systems. Think of this development not only in 10-20 years but in a few 1000 years. The people of these “now” two different tribes will obviously be very different from each other. They will be biased against each other. Living beings  believe they can control others who are like them and feel insecure if people look, talk or react differently. So people who believe to be stronger or are stronger will exert pressure on the others and fake and cheat and fight with the others if they feel threatened.  We should look for peace in understanding our biology and our evolution.

People who stayed within the same tribe will enjoy rivalry between different families, each family being biased towards their own children. Naturally each family will want their children to attend better schools and achieve goals which they haven’t been able to achieve and be successful. This in short is the definition of bias of parents towards their children and simultaneously towards other peoples’ children. Bias towards other cultures and families and prejudices is based on a basic biological fact of self/ non-self differentiation. The minute we understand this fact infinite approaches towards solutions of our intercultural problems become evident. The biological differences between sexes and the aging population promise some solutions, the idea that each human being having right only to one offspring after a parental license would offer further direct solutions. This in short is Bias is Beautiful, a book which tells the human story and  which could make a difference if understood.

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