The woman was long done choosing her package of steak, but she couldn't leave. Even though it wasn't her store. Even though her business was done. A stranger had come within within her personal space. The stranger was approximately equal in age, status and gender. To leave would be to cede territory, to lose, to lose face and status.
None of it was real. All of it was limbic system, monkey stuff. But she could not leave. I pulled K away and whispered to her what was going on. As soon as K left the territory the woman postured once and then left herself.
I want to emphasize that she couldn't do the sensible thing while the limbic system was involved. Couldn't, unless something in the equation changed.
This goes on all the time. It's also something underlying the selection bias in the "Rarefied Reality Checks" post. I wasn't trying to find an answer. Wasn't trying to establish who was 'right' between myself and the other instructor. Nor was I seeking possibilities. Trust me, I can think of plenty of logical possibilities that can explain differences in observed results. I was just dealing with new evidence.
Not all the territories we defend are physical. And we defend territories instinctively and emotionally, not logically. We can make up all kinds of rational-sounding justifications for our beliefs or actions, but it is no more sensible and no more conscious than the lady who couldn't leave the meat counter.
Defending and rejecting theories can be done rationally.
"This is what I see, this is what I think it means and this is how we can use it."
"Not so sure. I think the underlying factor is X, not Y."
"Okay. That's possible. If you're right, when we remove X from the situation, nothing will happen."
Or, more concrete:
"Every time we go out, we get in fights. I think we should quit going to bars."
"Not so sure. I think every time we go anyplace with Mikey we get in fights."
"Maybe, so lets ditch Mikey and see what happens."
Silly example, but you get the idea.
Rejecting theories, accepting theories and testing theories can be rational. Rejecting evidence, not so much. There are bad sources out there. There are an awful lot of people that literally cannot distinguish between opinion, conclusion, and fact. Or, for that matter, observable events and their own internal reaction to those observable events. But that aside...
If you catch yourself rejecting evidence, rejecting observation, ask yourself what territory you are defending that is more important than the truth. You probably won't be able to answer honestly, our tribal programming goes deep. But give it a try.