Most of humanity prefers doing things with our time other than being well-informed. This helps explain why we often contradict reason.
Even extremely large groups destructively contradict informed reason. Why?
To attract the many poorly-informed individuals who contradict reason. It’s called mirroring, and it’s an old psychology trick you can benefit from using in your daily life.
Mirroring reflects others’ positions as your own to make them like you, because you understand that people change their illogical views either gradually, or only after they die.
Henry Louis Mencken (1880-1956) accurately noted:
“Democracy is the pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance.”
So informed reason tends to be a lonely, unpleasant, and often even dangerous position. Unless you can make money at it, it takes courage and a penchant for self-abuse to tell an enormous crowd they’re misinformed.
As an end run around immovable mass ignorance in religion, human sexuality, business, or politics, leaders often use mirroring at societal level to make great gains to help people.
A prominent example being secular (non-believing) politicians at church, so religious voters will like them. They can thus get elected, and pass greatly beneficial values into law. Such as promoting acceptance of climate change and science, reversing discrimination against sexual or racial minorities, or increasing public access to health insurance.
Humanity commonly prefers easy and pleasant-feeling substitutes for informed reason. Such as our ABCDEF’s: Apathy, Blame, Crowds, Denial, and Emotions = Fail
- Apathy includes avoidance. Crimes of omission.
- Blame includes pointing fingers at others, while missing large flaws in our own positions. I see this in human sexuality, and from political party supporters. A lot. And from those who blame politicians in general for largely mirroring the public. Also, environmental groups asking the public to align against energy companies. But fail to mention that the public constantly increases energy demand via human reproduction.
- Crowds includes conditioning – parroting. And to be popular, crowds must often appeal to a low common denominator.
- Denial is when factual information is put in front of us that contradicts our position, and we still parrot our conditioning: standard human behavior. http://goo.gl/AaAIcG
- Emotions often get us excited for or against individuals, groups, or policies in violation of reason, and with greatly harsh results. http://goo.gl/7pVS
- Fail includes major examples regularly featured in this blog and related Twitter feed. And one of the most interesting aspects of Fail is that when it finally occurs, humanity’s reaction is often to recycle the above traits that caused it. Because the public still needs substitutes for being well-informed.
Regularly consuming information from excellent sources gives you the fuel to disagree with enormous, irrational, destructive groups. Those that rationalize not following the news because it’s mostly bad news lack discrimination in the myriad sources available. And are excusing their own ignorance and apathy.
Thoughtful informed reason is so rare, that I am stunned when I experience it in person. And surprised when I learn of it second hand, such as from media.
Like this related aside from Walter White, CEO of Allianz Life North America:
“There are many things I wish I had mastered in school that would have been fun to know and useful afterward, like speaking another language, playing an instrument, conducting an interview or addressing a large group. But more important is the one thing I wish I had known…focus less on how to fit in and be kinder to those who stand apart.”