Friday, September 30, 2011

Why A Solution Escapes Us

Here is a Link to a reality that is little appreciated let alone comprehended. It is a rather long winded piece. To quote the articles main thesis:

The Misconception: When your beliefs are challenged with facts, you alter your opinions and incorporate the new information into your thinking.

The Truth: When your deepest convictions are challenged by contradictory evidence, your beliefs get stronger.

If you have ever been in a three hour discussions over several beers, you’ll know what I mean. By the end of the night, both of you are more ensconced in your personal beliefs. I use to enter into these discussions figuring that I could change the way people think, and by the end of the night, nothing had changed, but I hadn’t realized that. I’d figured that I had moved them somewhat. Now I know different. Don’t think for one minute that any argument you have, will ever change another person’s opinions, it will only push them to reaffirm and embrace their deep down beliefs.

My grandfather told me way back that discussions around politics and religion were a waste of time, you weren’t going to change anyone’s mind and I tend to agree with him now.

For politics, Congress comes to mind. There is no common ground anymore. Discussions seem to be rally around the flag parties. No mater whose talking, there is a flag behind them. Kind of reminds you of the Nazi party, with flags everywhere. Of course their mission statement was “Let’s get patriotic and kill someone.” It worked great, the three beer arguments just disappeared. If you weren’t paying attention you ended up on a cremation list for the following week.

With religion, the idea that a religious body can preach death and destruction to infidels runs against the grain of decency of everyone in the United States. Of course Allah’s 60 virgins as a reward, is worth it if you buy the whole package. It just goes to show that you can pimp virgins in the afterlife and have takers grabbing a number and dying to wait in line—maybe dying after a wait in line.

What we are looking at, is a world ready for war. Arguing isn’t going to cut it; people are willing to die to convey their beliefs on the assumption that the other party isn’t that gung-ho. The Funny thing is, both sides have no concept of how it will end.

What we need to examine, is the fact that just about everyone up to now, has been getting what they want out of life without compromising their beliefs. That is beginning to change. The economy has been thrown into a dumpster. And if you think about it, people with money can afford to have morals and scruples; lose your wealth and you’ll find how unaffordable principles and ideals are. Political beliefs and moral concepts do not feed a family. We can see the effects of that in the Middle East right now.


aim said...

this is why change is always such a slow process in our societies and civilizations. it is usually pressures and emergencies that cause paradigm shifts.

beliefs can be very illogical but a human being will hold onto them to the day he/she dies. being "right" is the exact equivalent of "surviving". you can't strip a false belief from someone unless they recognize it is false and it can be replaced by the truth. not an easy feat.

Shift said...

I'm a physicist, and I can say without hesitation that it is very difficult to change a belief -even when there is a great amount of evidence pointing that a belief is flat out wrong.

Anyone who encounters quantum physics reaches a point where they feel lied to. It does not seem possible that the "true" world appears so different than the one we live in. I expect each of my students to figure a way to live with the internal conflict between what they expect from reality and what is actually measured.

In physics, we can measure our beliefs and are forced to deal with the outcome of the experiment. Unfortunately, issues of politics and religion do not easily lend them selves to empirical measurement.

Because of the difficulty in making any sort of unbiased measurement in these inherently social constructs, it is nearly impossible for a person to be forces to look at a misconception straight on. Heck, it might be the case that our only real misconception regarding things that can not be measured, is simply an issue of differing perception. (Things are much easier to settle when there can be a clear measurement.)

From my experience, I would say that it can be very difficult for a person to change their beliefs when presented with clear experimental evidence that a belief is invalid. When there is no clear and incontrovertible evidence that a belief may be in error, it is nearly impossible to have the belief changed.

We can try to fight our nature, but we are not allowed to win in that struggle.

Jim in San Marcos said...


Lets face it, we can throw "Common Sense" out the window. Nothing will change until that emergency appears on the horizon.

Jim in San Marcos said...

Hi Shift

I wish I'd seen your comment before I published my article;>) You hit the nail on the head and did it more eloquently.

Those discussions that last into the mid morning hours are gone for me, I cannot change the unchangeable. I fully understand why now.

Anonymous said...

Two of my brother in laws were absolute supporters of Pres. Bush.(the younger).
They thought he was the best thing to ever happen to the U.S.
My brother is a die hard Obama fan-in his eyes, he can do no wrong.
I realized at least a decade ago that talking politics with someone who is convinced of his stand, is a total waste of time, and an aggrevation to a peaceful life.
Now I avoid all political discussions at family gatherings.
It is MUCH more pleasant, now, to attend these events.

Anonymous said...


This is OT, but I am curious about your view on housing. Do you think it can decline another 20%?


Jim in San Marcos said...

Hi Anon 4:16

The housing crisis hasn't hit all areas equally. Michigan and Nevada are probably at a bottom. Out here in San Diego, prices will have to drop about 50 percent. The invisible inventory out here, is starting to look obvious. Bank financing is keeping the prices artificially high. That could change as the economy sours.

Drewbert said...

We will continue on our current path (down) until we stop relying on "solutions" that we already have clear evidence of not working.... and have for decades.

We need massive investments in infrastructure (especially mass transit), schools, sustainable power.

We need to stop protecting the incomes of the rich with taxes that our out of balance with spending. They didn't get where they are without the previously mentioned infrastructure and investing in those areas gives them a wider base of more skilled employees to draw on (if they haven't outsourced everything to India already)

The irony is, the rich would end up being even MORE rich if we could raise the boats of the lower classes instead of holding them under while giving yachts to Donald Trump.

Jim in San Marcos said...

Hi Drewbert

The whole system is falling apart because of the ineptness of our government.

You can blame the rich, but without them this mess would have hit the fan a lot sooner.

Poor people get to live in this country for free? Only rich people get sued, ever wonder why?

If people saved 20% of their income every year for 40 years, they'd be rich too--not many do it.

I'm not rich, but I get pissed off when I see people without a pot to piss in send their kids to college for free when it cost me 30K a year. If I quit my job, my son would qualify for a $15k a year.

You buy a new car and deplete your savings, your son qualifies for all sorts of financial aid and scholarships. It kind of like our government is built around a lack of financial morals. Spend and you shall receive. Save and we will tax you for being thrifty.

I don't think we need to tax anybody more, just stop giving it away to people that are gaming the system. You don't pay any taxes, you get nothing in return; tough love, but it will work.

frakrak said...

Great post Jim, have always enjoyed your moderation! Let's hope for an orderly collapse, with an absence of rednecks or zealots making it worse than it ought to be ....
But ....

frakrak said...

Jim over here if your rich enough you can pay your fees ahead and get a twenty percent discount, or take out student loans and pay the interest, it still gives both sides incentive ....
One thing people should have in mind is that if they take, they should at some stage give it back, and be thankful to the tax payer for providing that opportunity in their life.

Anonymous said...

america has a majority of welfare recipients forming its population. using services and not paying taxes either. this is a monster that has been created and is out of control and will take the country down. they are the addicts and the dems/repubs are the dope dealers (mostly the dems). thank you fdr for starting it all.

AIM said...

This totally applies to the leaders of the western world. No matter how illogical they'll keep on borrowing and spending and stimulating to ensure that a "recovery" will occur.
Why would we want to "recover" or go back to a period of bubbles, excess, over-leveraging and spending, debt, corruption, deregulation and over-consumption? 45 years of credit expansion that falsely fueled "growth". Real smart... handle unpayable debt by printing and borrowing more money.

The fixed idea is rampant throughout all of our leaders and central bankers. They'll continue "being right" until they are removed from office or their country spins, crashes and burns into oblivion.

Anonymous said...

"You don't pay any taxes, you get nothing in return; tough love, but it will work."

You give these people nothing and the net time your gassing up your car, they will stab you and take your money.
What most people don't realize is that social welfare doesn't just help the poor but also the rich and the middle class by keeping them safe. If you want to look over your shoulder everywhere you go and risk being mugged everyday, then cut off social welfare. But if your smart, you'll give people just enough to stay home and not come after your "ass-ets".