“Is everyone who lives in Ignorance like you?" asked Milo.
"Much worse," he said longingly. "But I don't live here. I'm from a place very far away called Context.”
Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth
Many of us like to believe that our opinions have been formed over
time by careful, rational consideration of facts and ideas, and that the
decisions based on those opinions, therefore, have the ring of
soundness and intelligence.
In the real world, we often base our opinions on our beliefs, which can
have an uneasy relationship with facts. And rather than facts driving
beliefs, our beliefs can dictate the facts we chose to accept. They can
cause us to twist facts so they fit better with our preconceived
notions. Worst of all, they can lead us to uncritically accept bad
information just because it reinforces our beliefs. This reinforcement
makes us more confident we’re right, and even less likely to listen to
any new information. This effect is only heightened by the information
glut, which offers — alongside an unprecedented amount of good
information — endless rumors, misinformation, and questionable
variations on the truth.
In other words, it’s never been easier for people to be wrong, and at the same time feel more certain that they’re right. The “I know I’m right” syndrome,
is a potentially formidable problem in a democratic system. It suggests
not only that most people will resist correcting their factual beliefs,
but also that the very people who most need to correct them will be least likely to do so. Analysts have termed this as “motivated reasoning.”
or not the consistent information is accurate, we might accept it as
fact, as confirmation of our beliefs. This makes us more confident in
said beliefs, and even less likely to entertain facts that contradict
JANE AND WOFF LEADERSHIP fit into this context, among others.
This is a repost from 2011.