Your Own Failure of Imagination

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[This post is part of a series of posts: OtherAuthors. (Click the link to see all the posts in this series, so far.) In this series, I highlight non-meditation-related writing that I really like (in part) and try (honestly and genuinely) to clumsily appropriate it and shoehorn it into a plug for meditation.]

Scott Alexander wrote, You’re probably wondering why I’ve called you here today. You should totally click that link and read that post. Scott notes there is a “natural human tendency to dismiss anything you disagree with as so stupid it doesn’t even deserve consideration.” Scott notes there is an “ability to override that response.” This might have a flavor of muscles you didn’t know you had, right?

Scott goes on, “[to] assume that if you don’t understand how someone could possibly believe something as stupid as they do, that this is more likely a failure of understanding on your part than a failure of reason on theirs.”

I think Scott, and myself as well, might ask you to explore that failure of understanding on your part, to notice when that failure of understanding, that failure of imagination, is occurring. This ties into cognitive and emotional empathy, into empathic accuracy, into being aware of what has been triggered within you, and why. I hope you’ll have a look at this post and his blog.

You’re probably wondering why I’ve called you here today

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One thought on “Your Own Failure of Imagination

  1. Nice addition to the blog. I think “failure of imagination” is key. That is something that I see super-frequently in people wrt their models of their past selves especially. (The christian turned atheist cannot for the love of the Universe see how any one could ever be religious, when he was until about 5 days ago.) It seems like their brain is actively blocking this remembrance or reconstruction.

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