An Emperor’s Moment | Unconscious Bias or Status Quo?


Have You Experienced An Emperor’s Moment?

| TAQO on The Unconscious Biased Status Quo?

You know, one of those moments when you take a step-back and notice the mayhem that can be caused through the use of just a few simple words, sentences, thoughts or ideas.

Seemingly, humans enjoy using moments like this as an opportunity for a good sulk and cry of despair over something that only exist hypothetically.

….and then you realise how influence can easily control the outcome of important decision-making. Just like small marbles on a tray; wherever you tilt the tray, the marbles roll towards the tilt.

A Subjective Social Reality and Self-Deception?

Regardless of whether the proposed ‘reality’ is true or false. This thinking can actually be useful for setting short and long-term goals as well as motivation. However,  if an idea is harmful yet satisfies the world view or social reality of an individual, that individual is more than likely to embrace the idea and make it their truth.

Allow me to elaborate using the old fairy tale; The Emperor’s New Clothes by Hans Christian Andersen, which wittingly demonstrates just how this phenomenon soaks its way into society, and at many different levels too. In the case of the Emperor, it is his vanity and admiration for material things that allows him to be the victim of a blatant hoax.

The Story of The Emperor and His New Clothes – Just to recap.

The gist of the story tells of a vain Emperor who is hoodwinked by two weavers that pretend to make an outfit from fabric invisible to anyone unfit or dare I say – too stupid to appreciate the beautiful tailoring that has gone into making such fine garments.

Of course nobody wants to be known as stupid, or upset the Emperor. And so everyone plays along, including the Emperor’s trusted ministers, as he parades naked through the town… Yes, naked!

It is not until an innocent young boy points out; “ Hey, the Emperor has no clothes on!”. It’s only then that the charade is exposed, leaving the Emperor highly embarrassed.

Now, whilst in reality the chances of something exactly like this happening is highly improbable, comparative situations do occur none-the-less. And especially where selling an idea, lifestyle, trend or belief is introduced to the general public.

Decision-making by measuring.

It would seem natural to infer that whatever is most popular, is also likely to be the safest option. This is why so many individuals and businesses seek popularity in the form of social media followers. Generally, this is a quick means of consolidating or making a semi-informed decision. The attitude here is one of; If everyone else agrees – then it must be right!

The ‘belief’ in ‘something’ allows that ‘something’ to exist.

When not adequately informed of a given topic it is natural that humans fill-in the gaps with their own expectations and assumptions. Alongside experience, influences and intentions, these assumptions will accommodate the different world view an individual has.

The belief in ‘some thing’ can be temporary or long term. Just as how, due to pride and not wanting to be deemed as uninformed or stupid. The emperor convinced himself into believing something that didn’t truly exist.

Which goes to show that it is not only the lack of knowledge that may contribute towards why some people will go along with something that is false. Politics, religion, science, philosophy, sociology are all subjects that affect or relate to modern lives. They all present such cases where ideas and thoughts are embraced, with the missing pieces replaced and customised to fit each and every individual.

How mere thought or ideas manifest as reality.

The idea of man being able to fly probably sounded ridiculous before flying machines were invented. However, it is what so many describe as thinking outside the box that result in the making of new ideas; Rather than make an actual man fly, why not make a machine in which a man can fly.

In this same way, individuals are highly capable of generating new concepts or stories around almost any situation that may arise.

The reality of a despot.

Presuming this is one of those “100 years in a dungeon for insolence” fairy tales, then I reckon the emperors ministers would have to be incredibly diplomatic or play it safe by playing along.

But let’s imagine one of the emperors ministers had told him from the start that his new clothing was not real. With his arrogance superseding his intelligence and in a rather despotic fashion. The emperor may have responded with a claim that the minister was stupid and not worthy.

On the other hand the emperor may have come to his senses and realised indeed the two weavers were attempting to fool him. In which case he could have got them to wear the new clothing themselves.

The backfire effect is a curious response many people have to evidence conflicting with their beliefs: instead of becoming open to the possibility that the evidence might be correct and one might have to change one’s mind, many people become more convinced that they were right in the first place.

– Robert Carroll

backfire effect coined by Brendan Nyhan and Jason Reifler


Image: Pixabay