Bias and Judgement

It is hard to imagine not making judgments. They are a part of our hard wiring, a remnant of man’s struggle to survive in nature when the wrong judgment could mean death.

Newspaper reporters are supposedly delivering nothing but facts, but we know that newspapers are biased. Magazines are biased in favor of their advertisers even though they claim that there is a wall between editorial and advertising.

In the English antique furniture business, it is often the decorator that will make a choice for a client. This is an awesome responsibility. How can one assume that the decorator has no irrelevant biases about buying from certain dealers? And what about the people that like to buy their English furniture in England? It is seldom the product that is being focused on in such cases.

The problem with bias is how unsupportable it usually is. If there were good reasons for not liking something, that would be fine, but more often than not we dislike something because our thinking has been influenced. This is very clear in how “viral” marketing is done. We will do something because we see others doing it.

Judgment is supposed to come from experience. But if we get sick on broccoli the first time we eat it  when we already had a stomach bug, is that judgment fair? Judgment, and hence bias, at least for us in the twenty-first century, are not reflexes that are necessarily protecting us from doing the wrong thing. We do that without thinking.

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