Buddhism as a Corrective Lens

One thread I have picked up in my quest for answers is how we are prone to illusion and falsehood with the mind.

The number of biases and logical fallacies is long; some more common are confirmation bias, survivor bias, special pleading, and arguments from emotion.

It’s a wonder we get any done with such a mind, yet despite all these problems, we have found a way.

Our methods of finding truth are different from what we believe them to be. Instead of grasping and holding onto truth, we have become very good at examining and discovering untruths or falsehoods.

By discovering what’s false, we’re one step closer to what is true. It’s what makes scepticism so valuable.

But a question arises: if our minds are so prone to flawed reasoning, how can we be sure of anything?

The answer lies in the fact that we can examine our minds to discover what those flaws are. Danny Ariely calls it Predictably Irrational. We are irrational, but we are in knowable ways.

Instead of grasping for truth, sometimes it’s better to discover untruths and correct our mistakes.

With such knowledge of biased and flawed reasoning, we can undertake practices that are correct for it. Critical thinking is one example of the methods of science are they to diminish bias.

Buddhism can be seen in the same way. We can discover its habits and behaviours through a continued examination of the mind. We can learn which behaviours lead to suffering and which lead to liberation from suffering. Then cultivate insight and behaviours that lead to the latter. Some commentators describe it as a form of psychological practice. 

All this sees the pursuit of truth, happiness and wisdom like a corrective lens. We can examine our eyes, discover their flaws, and then adopt glasses to correct our vision.

Buddhists see our minds as clouded by illusion; we’re ignorant of why we suffer. Liberation is through knowledge.

Buddhism is the corrective remedial approach to address and prevent suffering. We can’t escape the mind, but studying can liberate us, manifested in Buddhism through their practices.