Ted Talk: How Can We See Past Our Own Biases?

The more we read and watch online, the harder it becomes to tell the difference between what’s real and what’s fake. It’s as if we know more but understand less, says philosopher Michael Patrick Lynch. In this talk, he dares us to take active steps to burst our filter bubbles and participate in the common reality that actually underpins everything.

Michael Patrick Lynch, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Connecticut, examines truth, democracy, public discourse and the ethics of technology in the age of big data.

New technology helps us with the blind spot during our driving. Can we do it with our thoughts? Suggested reading by the Muslim Times: From the Muslim Sunrise: Truth and Science. The Muslim Times has the best collection for self help and human psychology

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  1. The speaker says at one time, starting around minute 11:40, “We need the humility that we are not the measure of all things.” Many Muslims have this humility but when they think that they have learnt something from the Quran or a religious leader of their choice, they throw this humility in the dustbin. We, surely, can appreciate that even though the Quran is literal word of God, our understanding of the Quran is fallible, and our leaders, no matter how great they may be are after all human.

    The speaker also says, starting around minute 8, “Whatever the party says is the truth and the truth is whatever the party says. … Once this thought is accepted, critical dissent is impossible. You cannot speak truth to the power if power speaks truth by definition.”

    How does this double binding definition of reality or truth plays out in the Muslim societies?

    In Islamic terminology either Maaroof exists independently and is the common reality to discuss things or if it is defined by the religious leaders, then there is no escape from their thought control and power to define human goodness and eventual salvation, for their followers.

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