There is a recent study done at U of Cal Berkeley. This study which involves the board game Monopoly, shows that people given an advantage in life (or in Monopoly) come to believe that they deserve the advantage. Further, the study tells us, they come to believe that others do not deserve the advantage.
The life implications are quite interesting. The study showed that people given an advantage are more likely to break rules, laws and to feel entitled to do so. Their ethics were compromised by the advantage. You can read more here or here.
As people who try to see that we are all unique and have a unique personality and upbringing, it is interesting to see that perhaps many of the things we think make us special are really just perceptions that favour us. We naturally begin to look at the world through our own lenses and see that we are special as opposed to all of those around us. If something in our environment that is measurable (such as wealth) is tipped in our favour through luck or circumstances, we begin to believe we deserve it and are better than those around us without that advantage.
The morals of this are profound and leave us with a dilemma, can we overcome this self bias and help others when we are advantaged without looking down at them? Can we become better people regardless of our situation? If we are wired to self bias like this, is it possible to change the wiring? Are we better if we help others? Are we better if we only help us?
Anyone who has ever been in a car and changed lanes and discovered that they cut off the person behind them knows that you feel defensive about the “accident”oh that’s too bad they didn’t see me”. Or do you get irritated, or mad, do you perhaps even say bad words, or raise a “salute”? We tend to see the world through “us” lenses. Is it possible to even stop?
Hard? Yes. Impossible? No, I don’t think it is, but I think it takes work to change this perception that we are the most important people in our lives. I think it is possible to change that focus and see the world as a madhouse of individuals who are all just trying to get through, and that we all make mistakes and we all just want to be happier than we are now.
Let’s give it a go shall we. and when thing s go wrong, just walk it off, things will look differently in the morning…or maybe they won’t.