Endless Curiosity

August 14, 2009

Saying becomes believing

Filed under: Psychology — Alec @ 7:04 am

There are many things about “the way things are” that I’m not happy with. But what can I do?

I have a mortgage to pay, a house and yard to maintain, I like to exercise and socialize and write. I like to attend cultural events and I volunteer. I’d rather do these things than spend my time on political campaigns that would frustrate me. And I don’t have the money to buy Senators and Representatives or to spread disinformation through expensive advertisements.

So instead of getting frustrated with the corruption of democracy in this country and the short-sighted approach to problems, I’ve decided to focus my interest on people – on why they believe things and why they do things. Being opinionated, I’ve never had a problem telling people about how things should be. The problem of course is that they either already agree, or they argue, and there are countless studies which show that “saying becomes believing” – that arguing a viewpoint reinforces one’s beliefs. So by causing others to argue I have simply entrenched them in their viewpoint.

A more effective way would be to look for what others care about and what their concerns are, to empathize with those concerns, and to show how what I believe would solve their concerns. So that’s my goal. Whether I can achieve it in this lifetime is another question. But it’s surely a better way to influence “the way things are” than by simply arguing.

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