A writing piece from Scott P. Scheper.
One American Plaza
Downtown San Diego, CA
Tuesday, 4:35 pm
For just over a month, I have been spending nearly six days a week almost exclusively doing one thing: organizing 3x5" index cards. These cards contain my thoughts and book-notes I've written over the past fifteen years. Each set is contained within an index card container roughly the length of a shoe-box. I began with nearly six boxes. I am staring at 2.5 left as I write this.
Every few days I reconsider my decision to undertake this beast. It... takes... forever.
I often remind myself of the why behind taking on such a task. After I review the why, it reinvigorates me, and confirms my beliefs that I'm on the right track.
However, what makes it difficult are the results and feedback of such an undertaking is not immediate. Though, I am aware of one thing perhaps clouding my judgment: confirmation bias.
See, after I review the why behind this undertaking, and thereby reinvigorate my beliefs that what I'm doing will have value, I'm potentially deluding myself. I may be falling prey to the great cognitive fallacy plaguing the thinking of humans——which is... confirmation bias.
And what is confirmation bias? Here's how I like to think of it...
We, humans, have a filter in our mind. This filter is formed by our brain's Default Mode Network, which enables us to operate in the world. It saves our brain energy and time by using shortcuts. Its goal is to save and preserve our energy; and therefore, preserve our survival.
This filter is aware of our beliefs, expectations, and hypotheses.
Answer: In order to filter away stimuli that conflict with our beliefs, expectations, and hypotheses.
Answer: Because conflict, paradox, and contradictory information requires cognitive processing. In otherwords, things that suck away life energy: deliberate thinking.
Confirmation Bias is basically the tendency to confirm our current beliefs, expectations, and philosophies by filtering out information that conflicts with our current ones.
What do we do about this internal conflict?
We do one thing: we press on.
The times in my life, which have been most rewarding and meaningful did not come from things that were easy. Nor things that were necessarily exciting.
They came from the monotonous... The rigorous... The boring.
They came from the systematic, step-by-step grind required to achieve something of value.
And that, my dear readers, is why I shall end this lecture now. For I must journey forth in ordering the mind.
I look forward to sharing the system and methodology I use at some point soon... perhaps even in an upcoming edition of The Scott Scheper Letter!
Peace and love!
Scott P. Scheper
Update while editing: I even have more after this... My journals and Obsidian digital notes (which I print out). ↩︎
Ironically, I'm probably aware of this because I've come across the concept from organizing my notes on it! ↩︎
“Default Mode Network.” In Wikipedia, May 1, 2021. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Default_mode_network&oldid=1020903267. ↩︎
Scott P. Scheper