Thursday, December 30, 2021

Experiences are filtered

Everyone's experience of everything is filtered.

Take the Covid example:
Health care workers probably feel Covid was more dangerous than it was because their experience of it was filtered to expose them to the worst outcomes. People who went to the doctor or hospital skewed what doctors saw happening. Those who experienced Covid as just another cold didn't go seek help. How often do you go to the doctor from a cold (assuming you aren't a hypochondriac)? I've never gone to the doctor for a cold.

Of course, my own experience of Covid was also filtered. I probably saw it as less dangerous than it was because people who were too sick to go on with their lives didn't interact with me. I saw only those who either experienced it as a cold or who-- because Covid was on their minds-- sought medical treatment but were sent away and told to treat it as a cold or flu. My personal experience was also filtered such that I came to believe "long(-haul) Covid" was confirmation bias.

Paying attention to the (fake) "news" is another way experiences are filtered one way or another.

Thus, healthcare workers or people who believe the (fake) "news" were more likely to be concerned due to what they were exposed to, and I was less likely to be worried due to my own experience and because I don't pay much attention to the (fake) "news". 

But all of us were influenced by the way our experiences were filtered before they reached us. 

It is helpful to be aware of this effect when making decisions-- particularly before deciding to force your opinions on others under threat of violence.

I've noticed the same filtering in other things, too. All your experiences are filtered before you experience them. Being aware of that might help you navigate the world in a more realistic way.


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