Believe It Or Not

At the moment I am fascinated by the beliefs of others. Not religious or cultural thinking, but the rise of anti-vaccination belief and the other crazy conspiracy theories.

I think this has been exaggerated by COVID-19, but I have always had an interest in the weird things that go on inside other peoples head. Lord knows I have plenty of weird things going on in mine. I am still not sure if there is a stark rise in the existence of people that believe in crazy conspiracy theories, or that they just have the ability to shout louder now.

The psychology of this type of thinking is not linked to intelligence as most people believe, but in fact the higher IQ the person has they can stick much firmer to their beliefs and come up with a greater argument for them. It has more to do with tribalism and the beliefs you have being an indicator of the group you belong to.

Motivated reasoning is how people convince themselves or remain convinced of what they want to believe—they seek out agreeable information and learn it more easily; and they avoid, ignore, devalue, forget, or argue against information that contradicts their beliefs. — Julie Beck

The stories we tell others are a test to see who we believe we can trust. The way people react tells us if they are a person we wish to have around and there would be many anthropological benefits to this. But when you don’t have 150 people around you, you have millions online the weirder the behaviour is.

Think about this when interacting with others over the holiday period. I know we may not be sharing a dinner table with as many people as usual, but you’re still going to come across people that do not believe the same things as you. This doesn’t make them an idiot, it makes them human, try as hard as you can to learn something from the conversations you have — because getting mad gets you nowhere.

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