Over the years I observed in myself and others a tendency to get stuck (to be biased) in our views, thoughts and behaviour. This appears to be the result of cognitive biases in the mind resulting in adverse effects to ourselves and others as the examples below illustrate:
Case 1: Someone with end stage renal failure and had to undergo a graft placement in her arm to prepare her for haemodialysis. The first operation failed as there was non-stop bleeding and the surgeon re-do the surgery but that too failed with the same issue. A third attempt was scheduled but the surgeon warned if that fails too then the patient is considered unsuitable for haemodialysis. The patient’s daughter who was not medically trained, decided to check the daily medication the hospital was giving her mother and noticed that she was still on aspirin, a known anti-coagulant. Luckily, the discovery turned things around swiftly.
Case 2: Years ago there was a shipping accident involving a ferry ship called MV Sewol in South Korea. The tragedy would have been avoided if steps were taken to improve safety but those in charge assumed that it was business as usual.
Case 3: Analysts believed the current war between Ukraine and Russia arose due an overconfident Russia miscalculating its military capabilities and assuming it will be another “Crimea-like” walk in the park.
My question are as follows:
- What could be the cause(s) for such biases from the perspective of Buddhism?
- From Buddhist teachings, what can be done to reduce or stop such biases?
Please answer freely from any insights you may have. I believe this is a problem that has grave consequences to the world with its effects greatly magnified with modern technology. Therefore, any contribution or idea would be appreciated.
Some time back, I came across a study that linked mindfulness practice and its positive effects on cognitive biases. As it is popularly known, mindfulness practice has its roots in Buddhism. Thus, I suspect Buddhism compared to other religions may be able to suggest cause(s) and solution(s) to this problem which is plaguing us and the world.