It’s taken me time and experience to understand the subject line [regarding willful ignorance]. I can respond to events and change my mind, but most others just fail to do so. If you have the time/interest, could you tell me a little about your experience? Did you develop a thick skin against the usual “crazy” or “internet addict”, or was that always a part of you?
Yesterday, my brother-in-law rebuffed my simple and verifiable observations by pointing to something on the internet. This man is simply “impervious” to anything contrary to the mainstream. In finance and computer science, he can learn and change his mind, but his community and family life depend on him remaining ignorant. I still find it difficult seeing someone who should be good, yet surrendering to evil.
I am trying to learn to let go like you have, but that’s why I asked if you had to learn it. I want to believe people can change, but my life experience goes against that hope. Very rarely does anyone change his or her mind, and I suppose [that’s why you asked me in a prior email regarding why I changed and how did I get to this point.]
Hoping for the best outcomes in your endeavors.
Most have a vested interest to maintain the status quo
First, I think you already answered your question in your email. Second, since the subjects pertaining to my blog can be overwhelming and depressing to the unwashed, we should not be shocked when others around us refuse to want to listen to what we freely discuss. This is especially true when we contemplate the spirituality of it all.
When discussing these matters with newcomers, I try to get a feel for how far along the learning curve they have come. Thus, I prefer to ask some open-ended questions. What happened to you in your life? Why are you interested in these subjects? Don’t you know that once you embrace these matters, you cannot go back to being “normal?” We cannot put toothpaste back in the tube.
The worst part is this; I have observed a number of people who have previously embraced these matters, but attempted to go back to the normal world. the problem is that they cannot ever really fit back in again. They either suffer from cognitive dissonance, or even worse, use their knowledge to exploit the naive masses around them. Either way, I have never seen anyone go back to being normal after drinking from these waters.
I have to believe that on many levels, your brother-in-law knows that at least some what you say is true, but he needs to suppress it for his desire to continue functioning in this profoundly sick world.
It’s easier to deny than to question, especially over the internet
I strive to remain objective in all my personal and professional matters, which means I must employ logic to the decision process whenever possible. Here is a brief list of some of the logic errors of your brother-in-law in which you must overcome.
- The a priori fallacy – This occurs when someone decides ahead of time what the conclusion to an argument is, then only considers evidence that supports that conclusion, or twists what evidence there is to support the predetermined conclusion.
- Selective Attention – Improperly focusing attention on certain things and ignoring others.
- Suppressed Evidence – A person who intentionally fails to use information suspected of being relevant and significant is committing the fallacy of suppressed evidence. This fallacy usually occurs when the information counts against one’s own conclusion.
- Willed ignorance – This occurs when someone does not wish to entertain the facts to a preconceived notion. “I’ve got my mind made up, so don’t confuse me with the facts.”
- Wishful Thinking – A reasoner who suggests that a claim is true, or false, merely because he or she strongly hopes it is, is using the fallacy of wishful thinking. Wishing something is true is not a relevant reason for claiming that it is actually true.
That’s a lot of mental baggage to carry around, so your brother-in-law does not want to hear anything you have to say. Even worse, when you challenge his biases and beliefs, he will get angry and look to you as the enemy. This behaviour is referred to as the backfire effect. This type of psychological phenomenon is prevalent in the realm of our false left/right partisan political world. The backfire effect is also observable in chat rooms and social media. You will never be able to win an argument on social media, so avoid it at all costs. This is especially true if you fail to employ the necessary logic to support your message.
Most people resist social change and harbor vested interests (financial or otherwise) in maintaining the status quo. These people lose something in response to social change. In your brother-in-law’s case, his whole way of life is threatened by what you say, so unless he expresses any interest in what we talk about, you need to leave him alone. If you continue to pepper him, he will avoid you altogether.
Our learning curve
When you are as far along the learning curve as I am, developing a thick skin is a necessity. I did tell my audience that I struggle with anger issues, and they still persist. But over time and with age, I realize why I have them. I still struggle with the concept of how much of my life is in the hands of our adversary, which is why I have developed ways to free myself from this system.
Of course, building our spiritual house is the most important, but developing our financial freedom is also vital. How did I overcome many of my character defects? I developed a skill set in which I didn’t have to rely on others for money. If I had to work for a living or run a business full of unwashed customers, I am most certain my life would have already fallen apart and I would be drinking again. I would probably be arguing with unwashed fellow employees and grinding my teeth at night.
I have come across countless personal instances in my life that resemble the one that you have with your brother-in-law. Since you and I face the uphill battle of trying to prove ourselves correct, we need to be on fire for the truth, and have our facts readily accessible to be presented in an air-tight, objective, and concise manner.
I have been a student of Economics and Behavioral Psychology for decades, and have strived to advance my debating capabilities. Thus, I am equipped with some formidable armour that I use to deliver my arguments in a way that others cannot dispute. This means we need to be able to develop, construct, and deliver logical arguments, while remaining detached and objective. We need to remain long on facts and short on opinions. For some, developing this skill set may be a challenge; but if we hope to affect change in the world, we need to build it regardless. All I can say is that it takes a lot of work and decades of experience.
To be honest with you, the most common reaction I now face when delivering the sobering news of our adversary to the unwashed is one of anguished silence. As I point out in my prior analysis of the Delphi technique, my views are rarely accepted into the group think, since they deviate so greatly from the group. But as a contrarian investor and trader, I use this to my advantage. If I were making decisions based on the herd, I know I would be wrong. So, being different here is a noble trait.
Of course, developing my financial skill set has proven beneficial to me when arguing my unique views and overcoming the inertia of societal group think. They see my financial accuracy and success over the longer-term as something of a validation to my theories. In order to be an effective steward of the truth, we have to work that much harder to overcome the skeptics.
But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.”
Mark 6:4 KJV
If Jesus could not convince those from around his childhood home, it’s safe to say you will not succeed with your brother-in-law. Leave him alone and plant your seeds in fertile ground.