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Confused about importance of life

It seems everywhere we turn there is bad news — our economy is lagging, our political institutions are failing us, and environmental destruction and climate change are upon us. With such uncertainty and confusion as to where we are headed, it is difficult to navigate the world and make sense of why and how we have managed to get to this point. Work by Jared Diamond, Joseph Tainter, and Ronald Wright has contributed much to the conversation around understanding why societies fail, succeed, or simply collapse. There are numerous reasons why societies collapse, ranging from environmental degradation (soil erosion, salinity problems, water scarcity), overpopulation, over exploitation of natural resources (water, forestry, over fishing, overhunting), and economic dislocation. Many of these problems are a direct result of how we make decisions and human errors of thinking.

Our human misjudgements and biases impact every aspect of our lives and influence what happens throughout society. While there are hundreds of biases which shape how we think and act, our discussion will focus on a few which are particularly relevant at this point in time. It is the choices and decisions we make which really matter, as these define us as individuals, communities, and nations. These decisions ultimately determine our future and that of the generations to come. It is through our choices and our ability to see through the fog that we will be able to make better, more informed decisions, for the benefit of all.

1. Social Comparison

"In order to gain and to hold the esteem of men it is not sufficient merely to possess wealth or power. The wealth or power must be put in evidence, for esteem is awarded only on evidence."

Thorsten Veblen

Social comparison bias is having the feelings of aversion and competitiveness with others, be it physically or mentally. Envy is closely related to social comparison bias and also stems from the feeling of lacking something, be they possessions, achievements, or certain personal qualities. Not only does the vicious circle of envy and jealously drive us mad with striving to make more money, it can also lead us into the debt trap. Financial journalist Shira Boss, author of Why Keeping up with the Joneses is Keeping us in Debt, suggests the social side of our finances — a need to keep up with friends, neighbours, and colleagues through expensive dinners, designer clothing, and, yes, new cars, is a huge contributor to high debt and a negative savings rate in the United States. (1)

Our intrinsic values promoting social, emotional, and ecological wellbeing have been eroded by the constant mantra of 'go shopping.' Not only has consumerism destroyed our levels of wellbeing, happiness, and our social networks, it is has become a powerful driver for the demand for resources that is unrivalled in human history. Marketers tell us that having better relationships and experiences is dependent upon using their products over others. Marketers offer branding which provides people with choices. These choices give people the illusory feeling of freedom to make important decisions.

2. Authority Bias

"Nothing strengthens authority so much as silence."

Leonardo da Vinc

3. Normalcy Bias

"At this juncture, however, the impact on the broader economy and financial markets of the problems in the subprime market seems likely to be contained. In particular, mortgages to prime borrowers and fixed-rate mortgages to all classes of borrowers continue to perform well, with low rates of delinquency." Ben Bernanke (March 28, 2007)

Creeping normalcy is a term used to describe how gradual changes can be accepted as the normal situation if these changes happen slowly, or incrementally. Jared Diamond made the term creeping normalcy popular in his Pulitzer prize winning book, Collapse – How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed. Diamond outlines how politicians use the term 'creeping normalcy' to refer to such slow trends concealed within noisy fluctuations. If the economy, schools, traffic congestion, or anything else deteriorate slowly, it's often difficult to recognize the change from previous years. The gradual and incremental changes are difficult to see, thus normalcy is difficult to recognise over short periods. It may take a few decades of a long sequence of such slight year-to-year changes before people realise that conditions were much better previously. What is accepted as normal now is a result of gradual changes, or creeping downwards.

4. Confirmation Bias

"Opinion is the medium between knowledge and ignorance."

Plato
"Often we don't realize that our attitude toward something has been influenced by the number of times we have been exposed to it in the past."

Robert B. Cialdini

The confusion iin our lives comes about by continually following formulas that may have work for the person telling it so we follow it ,so in general we have become like the sheep following instructions with the understanding that if we do it well we will have succeed if we don't we have failed , instead of looking for a better way for ourself we see ourselves as failing, just find a bettwer way to do whatever it is for you,and then collectively the human race will go forward with fresh individual thinking .
So take note of the great individuals but don't follow unless it works for you your way and therefore you have made it yours be self and leave tracks.
Roy Traies