“The tendency to interpret new evidence as confirmation of one’s existing beliefs or theories.”
I would add that it’s probably a hardwired human tendency to actively look for information confirming what we already want to believe.
This what we want to do – all of us – and it’s precisely why overcoming it is so hard. So what do we do?
We can start by at least being aware of this phenomenon at all times. Sometimes our beliefs are correct, but we must always be open to the possibility that we’re wrong – and not be afraid to admit it. There’s no shame in being wrong, but there is shame in willfully clinging to beliefs that we know are incorrect.
The most dangerous manifestation of this is when we are so married to an idea that we become blind to reality. Unfortunately, this is dishearteningly common today, and you certainly don’t have to look hard to see examples everywhere.
It’s almost as if actually having access to constantly evolving information is too overwhelming for us, and we retreat into what feels safe.
But the world, of course, is far from safe. It never was…