Each of us views the big world through the tiny lens of our own biases, preferences and experiences. As I’ve already mentioned, no matter how strongly I feel about a certain position, I may not be right. I may be right for me at that moment, but it doesn’t always generalize to the population. I’m OK with that. May as well be, because the task of eliminating all subjectivity is an immense one. Too immense to apply the majority of my limited energy supply when there are other ways I’d rather apply myself.
Certainly, there’s a lot of value in trying to be more objective, trying to minimize the influences that restrict our ability to acknowledge patterns. The exercise is a good one and can open your eyes to a view that makes a real impact in your life.
In academia, a structure called the scientific method is called upon to try and reduce bias and subjectivity. You try and control your variables that aren’t being measured to demonstrate a correlation between theorized cause and effect in a repeatable fashion. A lot of amazing things are demonstrated this way. But is it absent of subjectivity and bias? Where do the tested theories come from? Bias, experience, anecdotes, guesses. All washed in subjectivity, no matter what you’d like to believe.
In the academia social strata, it doesn’t pay to give any nod to a competing theory. In fact, the behavior that’s rewarded is tearing apart a theory that seems to compete with yours while relentlessly touting your own theory. That, in combination with some moderately repeatable correlations in studies can make one an expert in the field. Problem is, so many of the interesting problems in life have innumerable variables that can’t or won’t be controlled. Any of these uncontrolled variables are fodder for the competing positions’ dissection of your theory. Never mind that the reductionist scientific method is about finding generalizations, which may or may not speak to a specific situation that matters to you.
I mean, really. Are we ever right? I don’t suggest you stop searching for answers, but are you really so certain that your position is correct for everyone that you are compelled to demonstrate your correctness to all that will listen? To try and impose your view of the world on someone with a different theory? Or worse, to try and tear someone else’s world view apart for sport? Have you ever suspended your emotional ties to your theory and really tried on the opposing view and made a sincere effort to understand why the other opinion is so strongly held too? And, finally, when do you just say that “I don’t know for sure but this course of action feels right so that’s what I’m going to do”?