BEWARE OF BARNUM STATEMENTS

Beware of Barnum statements.

(meaningless phrases to suit everybody)

 The Barnum effect, named after the showman PT Barnum, observed that “we’ve got something for everyone,” is the observation that individuals will give high accuracy ratings to descriptions of their personality that supposedly are tailored specifically for them, but are in fact vague and general enough to apply to a wide range of people. This effect can provide a partial explanation for the widespread acceptance of some beliefs and practices.

Be aware of what you hear in all media, when people justify their actions, and non-actions.                                                                                                               

We have to find the real truth for ourselves, or live by others’ Barnum Statements.

The Buddha said, “Test all my statements, as you would test for pure gold.

Know your own mind!”

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2 Responses to BEWARE OF BARNUM STATEMENTS

  1. Daisy says:

    It was such a relief to read that you are aware of the above! For me, it’s vital that we acquaint ourselves with concepts such as this, and cold/warm/hot reading techniques that make use of the ways we process information, such as subjective validation and cognitive bias. Without such knowledge, we will continue to fool ourselves – and be lead by the nose (which still happens, even when we are aware of such matters!).
    One of the problems with belonging to a “group” of any description is that, by joining, we lay our cards on the table, and proclaim our interest in that subject – religion, politics, conspiracy forums…anything! We can then be targeted and manipulated, as it’s likely we will buy into a particular subjective validation…
    This is why we have to look very closely at our own hopes and fears, and be aware of the agenda of others.
    Thanks for raising this!
    Daisy

    • tony says:

      It’s a subtle manipulation, engendering “hope” and glossing over reality, telling people what they want to hear. I see this mainly in politicians and their spokespeople…telling us stuff as if it’s the first time that we’ve ever heard statements such as “We want good healthcare for everyone!”
      Unfortunately, spiritual people can also exhibit this behaviour. And what’s worse is that a kind of Chinese Whispers comes into play and we all fall into the trap of repeating things we haven’t verified, but which put us in a good light.
      Self discovery is not without its problems.
      Some of this could sound like Barnum statements or cliches 😉 I suppose we have to use whatever language we have, and strip it away to the essential experience.

      Tony

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