why we believe the way we do

Remember, too, that the narratives that keep you bound together are nearly impervious to direct attack. If three men couldn’t see eye to eye on who among them was and was not the real Jesus, your chances of swaying someone on the Internet to trade in his belief system concerning religion, art, wedge issues, politics, or literally anything else at all are pretty grim. Personal narratives and private mythologies don’t flip in an instant; they don’t trade places in a single argument. If minds change at all, they change slowly. As the author Michael Perry writes in Off Main Street, “We accrete truth like silt. It hones us like wind over sandstone.”

. . . In addition, you have a proclivity for believing and accepting things more readily when they are delivered to you in story form. Raw data may be more accurate, but you’d rather simplify things and move on with your day than pore over charts and data visualizations. An emotional appeal gets into your head better than a statistical analysis. A lecture sprinkled with jokes and unexpected turns will sway you more than one delivered via PowerPoint slides. Truth and accuracy usually lose when pitted against a riveting account—even when that account is coming from inside your noggin. . . . Whenever things start to get just a little difficult to understand, you replace that anxiety with false understanding in story form.

You are Now Less Dumb by David McRaney

less dumb




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