Tuesday, 6 June 2017
ON MODES OF DECISION MAKING, PARANOIA, AND GASLIGHTING
Suppose that you are faced with several possibility 'truths' of a real-life situation e,g "what happened to my cheque book?" and you want to make a decision about what to do next, then it would firstly be a good idea to make a list of all possible truths e.g.
(1) It's still in my flat
(2) My friend Burt stole it
(3) Jake my enemy broke in and stole it
(4) Somebody else stole it
(5) I lost it
(6) I never had one in the first place
You might then try to assess, in intuitive terms, how likely these possibilities are relative to each other. If you want to get really formal, you could assigning probabilities summing to 100% on these distinct possibilities, For example, given the information available to me at the time, I might assign probabilities of 60%, 1%, 0.001%, 10%, 28.999%, and 0% respectively to these possible truths. Your assessment of the uncertainties can of course change if your information changes. You can then base your decision e,g, whether to have another look around your flat, just go to the bank, or report a possible theft to the police, on your assessment of the uncertainties of the possible truths of the situation,
This form of decision making is in fact perfectly rational (it has for example been advocated in more formal ways by Bayesian Statisticians). It can however be severely criticised by Mr, 'Perfectly Normal' because he thinks that
(A) It isn't objective, OR
(B) It doesn't amount to simple common sense, OR
(C) It encourages paranoid delusions when dreaming up possibilities like
'Jake my enemy broke it and stole it'
or ' A lizard Shaman descended from Orion and ate it'
or (D) None of the less likely possibilities should even be suggested if it can't be proved that they definitely happened.
Indeed, if you think like this in real-life situations and express your views to other people, then you could even find yourself being certified.
However, if you think in this way and continuously get put down by other people, then you may well be being, totally inadvertedly, gaslighted, in my humble experience at least,