Communal Groupthink

“Most of our views are shaped by communal groupthink rather than individual rationality, and we cling to these views because of group loyalty. Bombarding people with facts and exposing their individual ignorance is likely to backfire. Most people don’t like too many facts, and they certainly don’t like to feel stupid.”

People Have Limited Knowledge. What’s the Remedy? Nobody Knows, by Yuval Harari

(via Bailey)

3 Comments leave a comment below

  1. Healthy people can be convinced. Conversation is a fundamental problem solving mechanism. The assumption that others who disagree with us have no good will, that conversation is pointless is nihilism. Nihilism as a problem solving philosophy means that the only way for a side for forward it’s views is to resort to violence. And in an age of automatic weapons violence is a bad idea. Free speech is preferable. It is better to know what the arguments are so they can be refuted. They only gain power in darkness.

    We need to be free to have difficult conversations, to have the sacred cows of all political frameworks questioned—including our own. Sometimes what we’d like to be true is simply false. And we cannot fix what is broken when we pretend nothing is wrong. Because no one ideology has all the answers to every situation and each has it’s blind spots. The world is very complicated and in constant change. We need each other. “Exposing individual ignorance” is an arrogant stance, that should not be the intention. Because it’s not coming from a place of humility.

  2. If you teach them respect for The Truth from early childhood, then they learn that malleability in the face of changing information is deeply important and not all that upsetting …

    You’re ALWAYS wrong.

    It’s a question of, “To what degree?”

    Teaching the notion of Moral Relativism is horrifically bad parenting. There IS a Real World. Its qualities are concrete and it is ubiquitous. This makes for Good And Evil. All that changes are our PERCEPTIONS of it.

  3. Objective truth can be determined. It’s very difficult but it is possible. To say that finding objective truth is impossible cuts off the functional value of the intellect entirely. And that is problematic because it’s a philosophy then which cuts off the branch of the tree it itself rests on.

    One can make a case for good and evil being deeply rooted in nature. For example a tyrannical chimp would not care for the females, young or aged. But all it takes is two other chimps to attack and they can physically rip him apart. Since his leadership was not preserving life by protecting the weak you could say he failed to fulfill the responsibilities of leadership. We all have a bit of both the tyrant and the hero inside of us.

    So indeed humility is wise!