[Motivated reasoning]: we pay attention to information that confirms our beliefs and reject information that challenges them.
"I want to tell you a secret. I see dead people. They don't see each other. They only. see what they want to see. They don't know they're dead."
From the movie "The Sixth Sense"
My grandma really loves her daughters. And she has got very lovable and capable daughters. My aunt, for example, always loses her jobs. But as my grandma states, it is just because she is overqualified. Furthermore, my aunt always hangs on chaotic men and has been divorced several times. But, of course, it has never been her fault. Finally, my aunt has some debts, but she can usually cope pretty well with money. At least that is what my grandma thinks. For others it may seem as if my aunt is not that capable. But certainly my grandma is very capable in one aspect: The aspect of motivated-reasoning and self-deception.
The term motivated-reasoning refers to a kind of self-regulation that enables people to believe in favorable things, although there is some severe evidence to disprove those beliefs. Motivated-reasoning is closely linked to terms like "wishful thinking" and "denial" and might lead to "unrealistic optimism" or "self-deception". It especially occurs in situations that threaten one's self-concept or previously held expectation of ones future. Imagine for example, somebody is fired from a job, although that person believes him or herself to be an intelligent and capable employee. Or a man who believes he is happily married, but then his wife comes home smelling of someone else's after-shave. Both persons are potential victims for motivated-reasoning, because motivated-reasoning enables them to keep their positive beliefs. The fired person - imagine she is a woman - might, for example, consider she was fired be-cause the boss was sexist. And the cheated husband might convince himself that the smell of cologne is the result of his wife standing very close to another man on the tram.
Anyone who has seen the movie "The Sixth Sense" - or read the introductory quote - can guess how far motivated-reasoning and self-deception can go. Convincing oneself of being alive instead of being dead is, of course, a very uncommon topic of self-deception, nevertheless motivated-reasoning is a widespread-phenomenon. People have the ability - and often also the opportunity - to see a glass as being half full or half empty. Guess what they are doing! Right. Therefore, motivated-reasoning does not only occur when beliefs are threatened and people want to retain them, but also when they acquire them. Likewise, the beliefs of being happily married and of being intelligent may never have been realistic beliefs but instead flattered results of motivation.
Yet, certainly, the wise learn many things from their enemies; for caution preserves all things. From a friend you could not learn this, but your foe immediately obliges you to learn it. For example, the states have learned from enemies, and not from friends, to build lofty walls, and to possess ships of war. And this lesson preserves children, house, and possessions.
The present theory then must be considered to be a suggested program or framework for future research and must stand ...
It’s saying no.
That’s your first hint that something’s alive. It says no. That’s how you know a baby is starting to turn into a person. They run around saying no all day, throwing their aliveness at everything to see what it’ll stick to. You can’t say no if you don’t have desires and opinions and wants of your own. You wouldn’t even want to.
No is the heart of thinking.