Charles just published a spectacular piece called “Even Smart People Believe Dumb Things.” I found it to be smashingly brilliant!
This is the very reason we started this blog in the first place. We bounce so many ideas off of each other being a catalyst for even more profound thought.
Smart people, believe dumb things because they are skilled at defending these beliefs they arrived at for non-logical reasons.
Yes! An argument can sound very reasonable, but be false.
Like how the wealthy have convinced the poor that this current social order is the way it should be. One day, I imagine future generations will compare our current income inequality to the horrors of slavery. I am sure that people in the future will look upon the present unfairness with disgust. Well-spoken individuals once defended slavery; we now recognize slavery to be undefendable. I expect the same of current grievances in the future.
In psychology, we refer to believing in something by only examining the evidence that supports our beliefs and ignoring all other evidence that runs contrary to our beliefs as the confirmation bias.
I think the world really needs to read John Dewy.
Open-mindedness. The attitutde may be defined as freedom from prejudice, partisanship, and such other habits as close the mind and make it unwilling to consider new problems and entertain new ideas. But it is something more active and positive than these words suggest. It is very different from empty-mindedness. While it is hospitality to new themes, facts, ideas, questions, it is not the kind of hospitality that would be indicated by hanging out a sign: “Come right in; there is nobody at home.” It includes an active desire to listen to more sides than one; to give heed to facts from whatever source they come; to give full attention to alternative possiblities; to recognize the possiblity of error even in the beliefs that are dearest to us. Mental sluggishness is one great factor in closing the mind to new ideas. The path of least resistance and least trouble is a mental rut already made. It requires troublesome work to undertake the alteration of old beliefs. Self conceit often regards it as a sign of weakness to admit that a belief to which we have once committed ourselves is wrong. We get so identified with an idea that it literally a “pet” notion and we rise to its defense and stop our mental eyes and ears to anything different. Unconcious fears also drive us into purely defensive attitudes that operate like a coat of armor not only to shut out new conceptions but even to prevent us from making a new observation. The cumulative effect of these forces is to shut in the mind, and to create a withdrawl from new intellectual contacts that are needed for learning. They can best be fought by cultivating that alert curiosity and spontaneous outreaching for the new which is the essence of the open mind. The mind is open merely in the sense that it passively permits things to trickle in and through will not be able to resist the factors that make for mental closure. — John Dewy
This passage really helped me open my mind to new ideas. I encourage everyone to let the above words really soak in. Our political debates are merely a contest of pride by ignorant people.
Notice I said ignorant. The question remains, “Are our best and brightest good enough?” Because aren’t we all ignorant in some regard? Even if we read the entire physics textbook, the textbook could be wrong. What we think we know today may be wrong tomorrow.
What defines a smart person? Someone who sounds reasonable? The oldest among us? Could it be someone with an impeccable record?
Maybe the smartest person among us is the one who knows that he knows nothing at all?