Faced with a choice between changing one’s mind and proving there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy with the proof. The most difficult subjects can be explained to the most slow-witted man if he has not formed any idea of them already; but the simplest thing can never be made clear to the most intelligent man if he is firmly persuaded that he knows already, without a shadow of a doubt, what is laid before him.
What’s going on here? Why don’t facts change our minds? And why would someone continue to believe a false or inaccurate idea anyway?….
I would like to say, with the utmost certainty that truth and accuracy are not the only things that matter to the human mind. We, as humans also seem to have a deep desire to belong. What do I mean by that? I mean we don’t always believe things because they are correct. Sometimes we believe things because they make us look good to the people we care about.
In fact, facts don’t change our minds. Affiliation does. Convincing someone to change their mind is really the process of convincing them to change their social ties. If they abandon their beliefs, they run the risk of losing their social ties. You can’t expect someone to change their mind if you take away their community too. Nobody wants their worldview torn apart if solitude is the outcome. The way to change people’s mind is to become friends with them, to integrate them into your social ties and to bring them into your circle. Now they can change their beliefs without the risk of being abandoned socially.
The closer you are to someone, the more likely it becomes that the one or two beliefs you don’t share will bleed over into your own mind and shape your thinking. The further away an idea is from your current position, the more likely you are to reject it outright. Any idea that is sufficiently different from your current worldview will feel threatening and the best place to linger a threatening idea is in a non-threatening ambience. As a result, books are often a better vehicle for transforming beliefs than conversations or probably, debates. Reading a book is like slipping the seed of an idea into a person’s brain and letting it grow on their own terms.
In conversation, people more often than not painstakingly consider their status and appearance, needless to say, they want to save face and avoid looking folly. When confronted with an uncomfortable set of facts, the tendency is often to double down on their current position rather than publicly admit to being wrong.
Why false ideas persist…
to be continued.
AMOS ADJARTEY NARTEY
HND-PURCHASING AND SUPPLY MGT(2A).