Lately I’ve been fascinated with why people so rarely ever change their minds.
First, the undeniable truth is that if you want to change the world, go into entertainment.
That said, since most of us won’t, we’re stuck with arguing over the Internet or at a bar.
When it comes to things like religion, political affiliation, or even who’s the best basketball player ever, we all think we’re right. This is obvious; if we didn’t, why ever hold any opinion?
But suppose everything is not subjective. Suppose there is discoverable, proveable fact and reality.
Let’s define “truth” simply as something that undeniably is. Gravity, for example, and not something being true just because a judge says it is.
If you’re presented with undeniable evidence to the contrary of what you believe, wouldn’t you change your mind?
The answer, of course, is no.
Let me rephrase that: the answer, of course, is hell no!
But why? This is what’s been bugging me lately.
We so seldom can change other people’s minds, no matter how good we are at persuasion. Now, we have to make a distinction between different conclusions based on the same facts, and situations where the facts only point in one direction.
If someone has a gun pointed at you and says, “I want to kill you,” you reach a different conclusion at your own peril. Yet even impending death isn’t enough to change minds, as we see again and again.
We all know America is divided; it’s a boring cliché at this point. But surely we could agree on existential threats and how to keep ourselves safe from them?
Again, say it with me now: hell no!
The recent mass murder in Orlando at the Pulse gay club, perpetrated by at least one militant Islamic barbarian, really got to me. It bothered me more than other terror attacks. After some contemplation, I think I know why: 15 years on, and with all of the warning signs, people literally shouting from the mountaintops that they want to kill us, and our leaders still can’t keep us safe.
Even more distressing, about half the country thinks said leadership is doing a wonderful job! These monsters want to throw gays off of buildings and many Americans are arguing in favor of throwing our borders open even wider.
How? Why? How can rational, good, decent people think this way? Are they simply not rational, good, or decent people? Or is their sense of self-worth really that bound up in their politics? If you’re wrong, you’re wrong, right? What’s the big deal?
It can’t be that easy. But I can only conclude that there are only two types of people:
- Those who have some objective standard against which they measure their behavior in reality.
- Those who think that they create their own objective standard.
Continue reading “Everyone Must Be Right: Why You’ll Never Change Minds”