Publish at March 15 2023 Updated March 15 2023

Saying nothing to advance thinking

What if we stopped the sterile debates?

In our hyper-mediated world, many speak in societal debates whether on radio, television or the Internet. Jimmy Mohamed was one such expert frequently invited to speak not only about his field, medicine, but also about other issues. However, he eventually stopped and only appeared when the topic was health. Why did he stop? He felt he was contributing nothing but reinforcing cognitive biases.

That, already, of authority. Indeed, much easier to trust a doctor who knows - in the eyes of the general public - everything about the human body than anyone else. He was facing confirmation bias from his opponents, who rejected these arguments out of hand for those that went their way.

Finally, he noted that most people fall into the negativity bias, that is, negative items will stick in memory longer and evoke more emotion than positive ones. This reflex, admittedly essential in the early days of humanity to remember which berry was dangerous to consume, however, undermines public debates and opportunities to bring about change.

Thus, he proposes doing nothing, not trying to convince but setting a good example. The proposal seems paradoxical, but he relies on biology to back up his claim. Because doing nothing does not mean "doing nothing". It means rather than simply trying to shout arguments to others, to act according to what seems good in order to elicit the mirror cells. The ones that make us yawn or laugh collectively. By example, he believes that in this way, there will be a better chance of making essential changes in our societies.

Time: 11min24

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