Inquiry: He shouldn’t overgeneralize

He shouldn’t overgeneralize. (Harald Eia who made a documentary on how the social sciences ignore biology, just because that was his experience when he was a student.)

  1. True?
    Yes and no. It feels true, and I tell myself it is true. But I know it is not. It is something we all do, including myself. (And I know I am partly blind to it in myself, and do it more than I would otherwise.)
  2. Sure it is true?
    No. It is just an opinion. A point of view. And not even clarified that much.
  3. What happens when I believe that thought?
    • I tell myself he overgeneralizes based on own experience. He mindlessly absorbed what we was taught at the university, instead of exploring and investigating on his own. If he had, he would have found sociobiology and related traditions. Also, if he had studied somewhere else, he may well have received an emphasis on sociobiology. He does not acknowledge that he himself was partly responsible for the lopsidedness of his education.
    • Based on his own education where biological and evolutionary facets were left out, he pretends that is generally true of the social sciences. He pretends that the social sciences does not already acknowledge the biological and evolutionary perspectives.
    • I feel annoyed. Irritated. I am not sure if I want to see the documentary, even if it is on a topic I am interested in. I expect I will be more annoyed by watching it.
    • What do I fear would happen if I didn’t have that belief? I fear I would take on his views, and appear stupid. How likely is that to happen? Not very. His experience and background is quite different from my own, mainly because I went out of my way to learn about the evolutionary perspectives. What is more likely to happen? That I am more receptive to his views and experiences. I can acknowledge the grain of truth in it, see how it fits in with my more familiar views, and appreciate that we are both coming from or own set of experiences.
  4. Who would I be without it?
    • Receptive to the grain of truth in his views. Curious about how it fits in with my own more familiar views. Find a view that can hold the validity of both.
    • Sense of connection – with him, myself, the topic.
  5. Turnarounds.
    • He should overgeneralize.
      • Yes, why not? I am sure his experience is shared by many others.
      • It helps me notice my own beliefs around it.
      • It has brought a great deal of attention to the topic, which is good. Drama = good news.
    • I shouldn’t overgeneralize.
      • Yes. That is more true. I know I do the same as him. I take my own experience, and pretend it is the same for others. I suspect I do it even more than him. (Partly because he is a public figure, and has an incentive to appear more balanced.)
      • I shouldn’t overgeneralize about him. I have only read about this in the news, and have already made up my mind about him and the documentary. I may have had a very different impression had I known him. And it is very likely that I will get a quite different, or at least more nuanced, impression by watching the documentary.
    • My thinking shouldn’t overgeneralize.
      • Yes. That’s where it happens. My thoughts tell me that everyone, or most, has similar experiences as myself. It is of course partly true. There is nothing that unique about me or any of us. But there are differences as well. It is good to acknowledge both.
    • I should overgeneralize.
      • Well, yes. I do. And the more I do it, the more I am invited to notice.
      • Also, it is inevitable. We know the world based on our own background and experiences, so we don’t have much choice. All we can do is acknowledge our bias.
    • I should focus on the unique.
      • Yes. I tend to overgeneralize, so it will be healthy for me to focus on unique differences. Every situation has a unique flavor. Acknowledging that opens for a sense of mystery, awe and respect. There is respect in acknowledging the unique.
      • I can do both, in ways that feel more honest for me. I can acknowledge what looks like more general experiences and patterns, while also remember and acknowledge the utterly unique in every situation and experience. It is all fresh. New. Different.

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