Monday, February 19, 2007

LISTEN WITH MOTHER 2

A postscript. To me - and this 9/11 thing is a good example - learning is about asking questions and listening to people's answers; it's not about poking fun at someone because you disagree with them, or a stupid shoving match to find out whose entrenched beliefs are ultimately going to win.

It reminds me of what happened with the OJ case, and no doubt several others will come to mind because it happens all the time. A snap judgment is based on a person's own views of the world and prejudices and then there's a programmed need to stick to it rigidly, almost at pain of death, for the rest of their miserable lives. Nobody wants to know the truth, they just want to win the argument.

There's a chapter in the essential book Influence : Science And Practice (R.B. Cialdini) which tackles this insane human trait of maintaining a relentless level of behavioural 'consistency', and it discusses how easy it is to manipulate and influence through this. The truth is, we really are way too precious about our personal opinions and beliefs.

3 comments:

Michael Begg said...

Ah, another opportunity for me to bang on about Jared Diamond's Collapse - One of the main reasons evidenced as being responsible for societal collapse is core value retention - the inability to recognise what core values need replacing, edited or deleted. Familiarity and the illusary sensation of stability can often ensure complete failure - just ask a frog in slowly heating water! Somewhat related to this is the sunk cost effect through which familiarity with a system precludes any ambition to stop throwing money at that system and find a better way.

Season this with a good sprinkling of Sam Harris and his picking apart of personal identity (it really plays an insignificant part in our experience), belief (fine if served with evidence) and faith (a dangerous, groundless thing) and you have a complete recipe for revolution, or despair, depending on your politics :-)

William Bennett said...

I can echo your endorsement of 'Collapse', Michael: it is indeed a mighty work, worthy of anyone's attention.

pelao said...

LESS, more, MORES, lex......