One down, 14 to go

I’ve been neglecting the blog, but I have a reason. The first week of the semester is done. Only 14 more to go. The week before classes start and the first week of the semester are always hectic in the fall. Freshmen trying to figure everything out, colleagues trying to get and stay organized (it’s always optimistic the first week), returning students finding friends and professors, everybody generally running around. There’s lots of laughing and hugs as well.

There have been some changes and some things staying the same (sadly). I have been reminded every day this week that I am indeed making the right decision by leaving academia at the end of this year. As I’ve said many times before, it’s going to be scary, probably difficult, but exciting and fun. I am very much looking forward to the new directions for both of us.

I have vowed to myself that I will find the time to do my own non-research and non-course related writing every day. I have finally (!) finished editing my first book and I’m going to be sending it out to my beta readers this weekend. I’m going to outline the series that popped into my head last week and see where that takes me. I’m also going to write up a couple of short stories that have been floating around in my brain for a while now.

So, we’re off and running. Hopefully things will calm down. It’s bad, but I don’t want to focus on teaching and committees, I want to focus on my own writing. Included in that is keeping up with the blog. I know that I ramble a lot, but writing down those thoughts and ideas helps to clarify things and gives me some idea of what to write about.

In the meantime, it’s a long weekend. Go out and enjoy!

Image by Ken Shelton from Pixabay

Life. Damn.

Saturday night my upstairs neighbor died from an overdose of heroin with fentanyl. His mom and girlfriend had spent the afternoon and evening trying to locate him and then, that night, found him dead in the apartment. Absolutely tragic. Our landlord is a neighbor and friend and we ended up spending about two hours outside on the sidewalk drifting between stoops with one of the other upstairs neighbors, and the next-door neighbors. The conversation ranged from the trivial, as we tried to take our minds off of things, to the immediate. Turns out my landlord’s sister died from an overdose and my other neighbor’s brother had serious abuse issues (thankfully still alive). We all thought about family and friends as we watched the mom deal with the sudden (although clearly not unexpected) loss of her son. I thought about how grateful I am that I have not had to deal with this level of addiction in my own family.

Drugs are obviously life-altering in ways both good and bad. Good drugs can cure cancers, overcome diseases, wipe out diseases and allow millions of people to go about their daily lives unencumbered. Bad drugs send people into imagined utopias of no pain and no problems, provide unimaginable highs that require ever higher doses to achieve and maintain all while destroying the brain and body. Drugs and their life-altering affects are often the subject of science fiction stories with outcomes alternating between relieving a dystopian existence or bringing down a utopian one. In the end, all the stories return to the theme that yes, indeed, too much of a good thing can become bad. As with all mind- and body-altering substances there is a required balance. Medical people will often say, the line between cure and poison lies in the dose. But heroin? I’m not sure there is anything but poison there.

Other drugs remind me of snake-oils sold throughout history. Right now, a friend is becoming involved in an MLM selling extremely diluted human growth hormone gel on the argument that it helps you lose weight and repairs a number of other issues associated with aging, etc. She gave me a bottle (which I discovered retails for about $170!!) for me to try. I am extremely leery of anything like that and did a quick bit of research on the active ingredients. My conclusion? Uh, no thanks. Not even going to try it. The attraction of no-work weight loss and getting in shape is huge for many people. The quick fix with no sweat. I want to keep living my life exactly as I do now, just without the belly fat. Well, I would too. However, I know that there is work involved in getting rid of the unwanted belly fat. But, I am unwilling to risk my near- and long-term health for the quick fix. The bottle and a warning about what I found is going back to my friend. I’m hoping she gives this up.

I have a couple stories floating around in my head that involve the sort of “cure-all” drugs that are found in science-fiction and in our current world. What happens when too many people get hooked on the idea that a simple drug can provide the answer to all their problems? What happens when potentially debilitating or even fatal side-effects are ignored or not discovered until much later? Quick weight loss fixes that don’t stop even when you stop taking the drug? Mental and energy enhancements that propel a person beyond human endurance and capabilities? The warnings came as early as “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”. We need to heed those warnings still.

My apologies for rambling, but this weekend’s activities have put me a bit on edge. The roommate of the late upstairs neighbor has not yet returned from the beach (she does know what happened), and it’s not clear what will happen in the near future for her. I don’t know about you guys, but no way could I continue to live there. It’s been a weird few days. I sincerely hope my late neighbor has found peace.

Image by Johannes Plenio from Pixabay

Writing in Ireland

I’m visiting my brother who lives in western Ireland. I’m sitting on his back deck looking out at the yard and the pasture and the ponies and the dogs and realizing why exactly Ireland has inspired so many poets and writers. It’s not just the romantic history, castles and what not, but the views, quiet, and landscape right near you no matter where you are. We were walking on the Black Head Loop yesterday with the dogs and while we didn’t really walk up any steep hills, the gain in elevation was astounding. The views of the Atlantic and back into Galway Bay are gorgeous. And awe-inspiring. I’ve only been here acouple of days, but already I’m feeling relaxed and rejuvenated. I am heading home on Tuesday (I know, short trip, but worth it), and I know that I will still feel this peace once I get back (despite the airlines best efforts!)

I haven’t written anything since I got here, this post excepted. However, I’ve got photos and seen names and heard short histories enough to inspire me for a couple more short stories and the second and third books in Academic Magic. (BTW, the rooster crowing from the neighbors just adds to the whole ambience. Even my sister-in-law telling the rooster to shut up.)

If I could sit here, or out in Fanore looking at the ocean, for a week or so, I think I could do a lot of writing. No, summer weather here is not exactly my preferred version of summer, but it’s still nice and still beautiful. I am more of a tropical person, but Ireland in the summer is a good change of pace. Ireland in winter….not really something I want to deal with. Summers though, you can totally see the fae and other stories in the landscape. It’s inspiring and fun. So, to that end, I’m off the computer and heading back to the beach. Enjoy what’s left of the weekend!

Photo is my own. black Head Loop trail.

Reading Breadth

I just read a post at Mad Genius Club discussing reading and cultural heritage. This post was based on an article at Intellectual Takeout analyzing 7th and 8th grade reading lists in Minnesota public schools in 1908 vs. 2019. Both of these posts got me thinking about what I read, and how much I read (or don’t sometimes). The post on cultural heritage struck a chord. Many people home school these days because they don’t feel that their kids are getting a good enough education in the public school system. (Right now, I can hear teacher friends and friend who have teachers as friends screaming that I’m blaming the teachers…No. I’m not.) The teachers are teaching the curriculum that was ginned up by the politicians in their various states. Believe it or not, the federal government and Betsy deVoss have very little to do with what a state does or does not do in terms of education curriculum. Like many things the federal government decrees, it gets states to fall in line via the simple expedient of blackmail. The feds threaten the subsidies to states if states fail to do what the feds want. The states have become so dependent on the feds for budgets for education and other areas that they fall in line like good little boys and girls (Go look up the history of setting the legal drinking age to 21. Blackmail via highway funds.)

It’s become very fashionable to distance oneself from our Western, European, Judeo-Christian cultural heritage. All the “best” minds will explain (at dreary length) how that culture is corrupt and led to all sorts of evils like slavery and colonialism and racism and…and…whatever else they can think of that they don’t like. But slavery existed (and still does in many parts of the world) long before Western civilization was a twinkle in any one’s eyes. Racism is the normal course of human interaction. Doesn’t make it right, but it’s a normal human reaction. Just go to any fully integrated high school cafeteria at lunch time. Kids self-segregate. Doesn’t mean they don’t like kids of other races, just means they’re more comfortable with those who look like them. Also doesn’t mean they don’t hang out with kids of other races, just not all the time. Do you hang out with the same exact set of friends all the time? Or do you mix it up. If you read, you understand that while aspects of civilization created and even encouraged those ills, other aspects worked to end them and make them the anathema they are today.

Where was I going with this? Oh yeah. Reading and cultural history. It’s important to understand history. How can you say where a society, country, organization went wrong or right if you don’t know and understand the history of it? How can you understand and know the history if you don’t read? And, it’s not just history books of all stripes we need to be reading (and our kids too), it’s all kinds of books from fiction to fantasy to fairy tales to poetry to essays on life, the universe and everything, to opinion pieces on the outrage topic du jour. All of these give insights into culture, history, and social mores. Reading should be done in such as way as to give you a depth and breadth of knowledge and experience such that you are able to take in many factors and understand the outcomes and consequences (both intended and unintended).

Groups and individuals will always interpret the same book/article/essay in different manners. That’s what reasoned, analytical discussions are for. To figure out where those interpretations are based and why they appear. Sometimes reading different analyses on the same book or essay reminds of this meme I saw on Facebook a while back:

25+ Best Memes About the English Teacher | the English ...

You don’t have to explain why, but it bears remembering that when you read an analysis or interpretation of a work you are reading the author’s analysis/interpretation of another author. It’s fine to agree, as long as you’ve read the same original piece. Thus, basing your own analysis/interpretation on your own reading and not trusting somebody else to read it and interpret it the same way you do.

All of this is a long way of saying that reading everything, even things you find disturbing, angering, whatever, is the best way to develop your own critical thinking skills and pick up some knowledge and maybe even appreciation for your own history and that of the culture in which you were raised.

Try it. Read something and see what happens to your brain.

Work vs. writing

Yesterday and today I have been trying to get a start on my syllabi for the fall semester as well as keep up with the writing I really want to do. A colleague turn me on to the Pomodoro method. Basically, you work on something, one task, for 25 minutes. Then you take a couple minute break. I get up and walk around, pace around the circle in the office hallway, walk up and down the house, whatever. Every four Pomodoros (about 2 hours), you take about a half hour break. The idea is that you let things float around in your head, and get better insights to whatever you’re working on. It really is amazing. I’m far more productive when I spend my day on the Pomodoro method. Plus, it reminds you to take a break and get up from your chair so you don’t atrophy.

When it comes to dividing my attention between a syllabus and a book, I find it very useful. I do two Pomodors on the syllabus (that includes reading the book, going over notes for assignments, creating assignments, watching videos, anything to do with class prep), then two on the book. This means that I actually get in several hours of productive work. Fan-freaking-tastic! Productivity! Yay!

Seriously, though, I am a world-class procrastinator and this method really does seem to insure that I can avoid that snake pit. Well, as long as I stay away from Facebook….I am working hard on this book and the series. I also have ideas for another series and several short stories. I’m working on them. I will get things sold. I know it. I do wish I could keep going without the looming semester. On the other hand, the semester and its schedule and stresses will require me to be more organized and more productive in a shorter period of time. This is a good thing.

In the meantime, I keep Pomodoro-ing along getting the edits done and the next one written.

Go tackle the week!

Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay

Don’t be crazy

I’ve seen the comment “all the Democrats had to do was not act crazy and they can’t even do that” several times on Instapundit. It’s completely accurate. The latest kerfuffle for Ds comes from the so-called “Squad”. Four of the newest representatives who are now presenting themselves as the face of the Democratic party: Ilhan Omar, AOC, Rashid Talib, and Ayanna Pressley. Omar is on record with multiple anti-Semitic remarks. She’s gone well beyond simply criticizing Israeli government policy as many have argued. She’s made flat-out anti-Semitic comments. Talib has said, on a radio show no less, that she is comforted by the thought of the Holocaust. Really?? AOC has compared the holding facilities at the southern border with the Nazi concentration camps. Problem with that comparison is that nobody in those holding facilities is a U.S. citizen who has been deprived of rights, property and liberty, and shipped off to a camp. That may seem like a fine line to some, but it’s a huge freaking difference if you’re honest with yourself and if you actually have an understanding of the history of WWII and the Holocaust. It’s disingenuous at best and disgustingly ignorant and yes, anti-Semitic, at worse.

Why do I bring this up? I’m teaching a class on genocide and politics in the fall and I have to teach American politics in the spring. I know these issues will arise and students will question things. It’s important to remember what happened in WWII and to never allow it to happen again. The detention centers on our southern border are most emphatically not “concentration camps.” Are they luxurious accomodations? No. Are they comfortable? Probably not that much. Are they necessary? Well, sadly, yes. I am not sure why both US citizens and those arriving on our border seem to expect that they can simply walk in and make themselves at home. No country allows that kind of immigration. Even Germany has returned to closed borders after the fiasco of 2015 when they allowed one million refugees into the country without any sort of vetting or processing. It was a nightmare. Go look up the rapes and assaults in Cologne and the comments by the mayor of that city (a woman) saying that women needed to be careful what they wear so that they don’t get assaulted. Victim-blaming at its finest.

The Democratic Party has tried to paint Trump as the perpetrator and cause of all the issues now confronting us, including the nasty political commentary and anything they can think of. The reality is that as Instapudit writers have noted, all they had to do was not act crazy and they can’t even do that. They have fallen for Trump’s rather clever Twitter trolling. They cannot resist the bait. The thing is, by responding, they are falling for his trap and are saying out loud what they’ve never said in sunlight before. They’re contradicting themselves every time he tweets.

Take the latest kerfuffle he generated with his tweet saying that some “Progressive Congresswomen” should go back to those countries they came from, fix them, and then come back here and let us know how they did it. Please note, he never named anybody, Dems did that. He did say “come back and show us how you did it”. Dems ran with the “all but one of those women were born here.” Again, he never named names…Dems did that. They fell for that hook, line, and sinker. Conservatives have checked their virtue boxes by publicly noting that they found the comments racist. They declared that he should have let them destroy themselves and not said anything and that now Pelosi was compelled to defend the Squad. They skipped over many of the same things…including the fact that Pelosi does NOT want the Squad to be the face of the Democratic Party. What Trump has done with his tweet and response has been to force Democrats to publicly, in daylight, either accept the crazy or deny it. They can no longer pretend it doesn’t exist.

Pelosi will have to do something if she wants to continue to lead her party. She will have to shut down the Squad or at least figure out a way to discredit them or even better (for her), allow them to discredit themselves. As it stands now, the Democrats are self-destructing in a most spectacular fashion.

As we move into the second half of 2019 and politics ramps up for 2020 (damn we have an insanely long lead time), I’m going to invest in popcorn futures and sit back and watch the show. It’s gonna be fun!

Image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay

Rough week

We got back from Oregon on Monday after a red-eye flight. Hubby had to go to work on Monday morning after we got home. That totally sucks. I’m very grateful that I didn’t have to do anything more demanding than walk down to Whole Foods and figure out things for dinner for the next two nights. And, I even managed to work in some book editing. Win-win!

So, we noodled through the rest of the week. I had to spend 4 hours at Mazda getting the car serviced and updated for the next year’s registration/inspection. Yay. I didn’t expect to spend four hours there, but I did get a lot of work done, so I’m grateful for that. I’m certain that I would not have spent a straight four hours working if I had been sitting at home. So, I got that going for me.

The cats were following me around the house this week as well. It’s difficult to get work done when a cat insists on leaning on your arm and wrist so you can’t use that hand. I get it. We lost Fritz a couple of weeks before we left, then we were gone for 10 days. So, I was followed around the house. The rough part came on Friday night. We were sitting watching TV when Flash fell over in a seizure. Before we could even process that, he died. Two cats gone in two months. This totally sucks. Crystal, the now only-cat, is 17 years old. We’re seriously willing her to hang on for at least another year. I don’t think I can take it if I lose another (and the last) cat int he next couple of months. I think my stress levels would go through the roof. Definitely don’t need that.

One of the other things I did last week was head into campus to have lunch with our summer research group. The benefit to that was seeing people I like and haven’t seen in a couple of months. The downside was being on campus brought back all the stress I thought I had left behind. I was reminded in blinding color about my failed attempt to get promoted, as well as the frustrations of taking students abroad. When I got home and started going over things I needed to do, I found myself having those conversations we all wish we could have in real life. For me, these are not stress-relievers, but rather stress- increasers. I really don’t like it when I catch myself responding to issues that are either over, or have been shoved aside. It tells me I’m not happy with the outcome, but at the same time, there’s not a lot, if anything, I can do about the outcome. I’m just chewing on it. Not a good thing. This is one big reason I don’t want to stay in academia. Where I used to feel excited and that I could make a difference in the lives of students or at least expose them to new ideas and concepts, now I just get stressed thinking about how many ways the administration can make those things extremely difficult if not impossible to carry out.

So, yeah. We’re hear for another year. I’ll figure out my EU sim trip when necessary. I’ll deal with things as they come up. Hubby has promised that this time next year we will be out of Philly and somewhere else. That sounds very good to me. My first book will be available on Amazon Kindle Unlimited in August. I promise. Meanwhile, I am going to edit, finish the book, send it to beta readers, prep my classes, keep writing, and keep moving forward.

Have a good week, everybody. Go out and move forward!

Image by Karen Arnold from Pixabay

Compassion vs. viewpoint

Compassion is not simply vehement expression of a point of view.
Theodore Dalrymple.

I ran across this quote last year (school year) at some point and it struck me as immensely simple and yet it captures something that we as a society often ignore. The loudest voices crying out about conditions of migrants on our southern border (this is the topic that seems to bring it out the most. OK, and homelessness on occasion) have never been to the border nor are they among those donating on a regular basis to organizations working there. It’s not easy to visit the border, and you cannot simply visit a migrant ICE camp/detention center. Many, if not most (please note, I did not say all…) of those making snarky, highly disapproving comments, or posting the latest meme du jour, are doing so only to “prove” that they are compassionate, loving people. However, simply screaming that this is a terrible thing, that these are terrible conditions does not make one compassionate. It makes one loud, and deaf to any possible solutions beyond “Don’t do it that way!”. So, what can be done? I’m not asking for or suggesting that I have solutions to the border crisis (it must be one now since CNN has finally used the word “crisis.”) Rather, I’m asking or talking about how does one deal with the loud, yet inactive, compassion-mongers?

Pointing out that such conditions have existed on our southern border for at least 10 years does no good. The vehement expression folks on both ends of the political spectrum prefer that such conditions be the fault or creation of “those guys”, not “us.” Politicians are too busy using (and essentially maintaining) deplorable conditions for their own benefit. Re-election bids, fundraising, again…pointing out how compassionate they are (while voting down some bills because the other party sponsored it and by God they are not going to “betray” their constituents by voting for something “they” created!)

I argue that this turn towards “vehement expression of a point of view” has resulted in the virtue-signalling culture we see on TV, on social media, and hear from celebrities and politicians. “See? I’ve noticed this and I don’t like it. OK, I’m done.” It’s useless and pointless, except that it keeps Twitter from banning you and YouTube from demonitizing you and your friends, followers and fans from abandoning you as a do-nothing loud-mouth. The same virtue signallers are also the very same people who often and frequently call out those who do not do the same. Or, they jump on some small, insignificant comment, word use, or whatever, to deflect from your actual point and to deflect from the fact that they got nothing in response. My cousin actually did this to me last week. I used “they” to refer to a group that had been under discussion for at least 10 minutes, and he had to jump in with “Now, don’t say “they” it’s not all of that group.” I looked at him and said, “That’s not what I said. It should be clear from the context of this conversation that I am referring to the group under discussion for the last ten minutes.” He just nodded, but at least he quit with the virtue signalling. But then, it’s what he does. Fortunately, he doesn’t do it often. But, I do think I was the first in the family to call him on it.

Another way people do the “vehement expression” thing is to put signs in their windows and bumper stickers on their cars. You know the ones…you see them all over. Not just “Black lives matter”, or “Blue lives matter”, but those “Hate has no home here”. Those signs. Those views are obviously important to those individuals, but why must it be announced to the world? Is it not enough to know that you don’t hate? Or that you don’t support police brutality? Or that you do think the police are not all evil? Why is it so important to be publicly vehement in the expression of your point of view? How have you diminished the problem with your bumper sticker?

I try to deal with or shut down virtue signalling with comments like my response to my cousin or the simple question of “Well, what do you propose?” That forces those doing the calling out to think about solutions rather than scream about the problem without offering any alternatives. Of course, the signaller may simply continue screaming as they actually have no answers or suggestions and do not want to admit that. Coming up with coherent responses involves thought and too many people avoid that as too much work.

Vehement expression/virtue-signalling does not advance the conversation, nor does it create any workable solutions. It’s designed to make the speaker look good in their own eyes (see, I said I don’t like it, that makes me a good person), and in the eyes of those they seek to impress (whether that actually works is up for debate). I try to pay attention to what I say when I express an opinion or a point of view and make sure that I can actually back up my opinions with facts. I also try to make sure my compassionate view can be supported by compassionate work (this is more difficult, but it’s more effective than simply getting louder).

In the end, yes, you can feel compassion about issues you can not immediately affect. However, to be a compassionate person, you need to do more than yell louder or unfriend someone or change your FB profile picture. You need to act with compassion where possible. Respect people and start from the idea that they mean well and are doing their best. Don’t make assumptions about their motivations or otherwise. Let them show it in their actions themselves.

Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

Family and writing

I am on vacation in central Oregon with various family members. This is our annual get-together. We hang out, float the Deschutes river, ride bikes, hike, eat dinner together and generally enjoy each others company and the woods. It’s very relaxing and enjoyable. I just caught myself logging on to my work email and stopped. There’s nothing in there that can’t wait until I get home. So, just stop. The one thing I don’t want to stop is writing, but that gets put aside at times for the outdoors. Which is a good thing. It’s too easy to sit inside and spend a beautiful day in the house. That is not the point of this vacation.

There are a number of story ideas that are coming to me, and I have been writing those down. I plan on working some of these into short stories and a couple would make great longer novellas or even novel length books, and the beginning of a series. I collecting a backlog of story ideas and it’s very exciting. This means I have a lot of material and gives me confidence that I have a good number of stories to tell. The other good thing coming out of this week is that my cousin’s wife is encouraging me all along and telling me to write these ideas down. It feels great to have a cheering section that is more than just my husband. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a great cheerleader and support, but then, he’s my husband. It helps to have somebody who really has no skin in the game to be giving support.

Sometimes family members are less than enthusiastic about things such as writing fiction. “Oh, that’s nice.” “So, are you doing this on the side?” “Is it a real book?” I get it. It’s not what most people consider a “real job”. And, the finances are dicey. One thing I have noticed is that there are (obviously) many similarities with academics. More specifically, the failure to understand that simply because you are not heading into an office or job site every day, that you are still working. I get that a lot. “Oh, well, you’re off for the summer, so can you do this that or the other thing?” No. I can’t. I’m working. It can get annoying, but I’ve learned to either not respond to text messages or answer the phone. That helps a lot. I love my family. I just don’t need them interrupting me all the time!

But again, this week it’s all about family and relaxing…so interrupt away.

We’re off to a short hike and then some quality time at the pool. Enjoy the 4th of July holiday. Happy Independence Day!

Opinions and balance

Hanging out with a friend and former student this weekend. He’s been in the Middle East and Europe for a few deployments and just got back from a nice long trip with his mother exploring castles in the UK. I am always amazed at how many students I stay in contact with over the years. It’s been 17 years since this one graduated and we’re still in contact. Pretty cool. He’s definitely more conservative, or I guess charged up about the current president than I am. We have some agreement points and some disagreement points. The funny thing is that when I hear some sort of less-than-accurate comment and call him out on it, the professor-student relationship re-establishes itself. I don’t mean to do it and I don’t think I’m overbearing about it, but it just happens.

My teaching philosophy has always been to give students the tools to think for themselves and think critically. I have never told them what to think (unlike some of my colleagues). Nobody does well with somebody else telling them what to think. Facts and events are subject to interpretation. That’s how we work as humans. We all have our own lenses and we interpret through those lenses. As the meme goes, you are entitled to your own opinion, however you are not entitled to your own facts. I would add that if your interpretation of events leans to the conspiracy side of things you might want to review your lenses. Conspiracies of hundreds or even just tens of people are usually spectacularly unsuccessful.

Confirmation bias is another problem we all have. We engage in confirmation bias when we take those stories that confirm what we know to be true and ignore those facts or other interpretations that contradict our known truths. People who self-identify as liberal/progressive and only read or watch MSNBC are engaging in confirmation bias; same goes for those who self-identify as conservative and watch or read only Fox News. Confirmation bias doesn’t just happen with politics, although that has become more evident recently. We engage in it in many different areas of life. We want our preconceived notions to be supported. It provides a sense of order and stability in a confusing world. Knowing that we are not alone in our opinions also feels supporting. Most humans do not do well psychologically or emotionally in a world of constant confusion and chaos or in a world where we feel we are alone in our opinions.

Identifying and breaking your own confirmation biases is difficult, but not impossible. It means admitting that you have biases first of all. (We all do; anybody who tells you that they are completely bias-free is lying or lacks any level of self-awareness). Once you admit to biases, you have to either own them or work at overcoming them. It’s OK to have biases (I don’t like fried eggs and I will never eat them no matter what. No way, no how. Yes, I’m biased.) Parents are biased in favor of their own kids; we’re human. Humans are flawed, but we are also good (when we want to be) at recognizing our flaws and working to fix them (assuming that fixing them will not lead to some sort of self-destruction).

I’m always working to identify my biases, note when I’m engaging in confirmation bias and figure out why. I’m not always successful, but I keep going. I think that my training as a researcher and experience as a professor has forced me into those considerations.

How about you? What confirmation biases have you noticed? Do you try to change those?

Image by Myriam Zilles from Pixabay