People Believe What They Want to Believe

Why do otherwise rational people often cling to irrational ideas despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary? The simple truth is that belief is usually more visceral than intellectual. People ultimately believe that which most comfortably fits within their overall belief system. Despite strong evidence and seemingly irrefutable facts, people will cling to fallacious ideas because, like a piece of a jigsaw puzzle, the old idea fills the ‘hole’ in their psyche perfectly. Rather than directly try to force a new mismatched piece into the hole by the brute force of facts and evidence, one should first try to ‘reshape’ the hole so that the new idea fits naturally. This means to determine why an erroneous idea fits so well into a person’s mindset and attempt to adjust the adjacent ideas so that fit is no longer so comfortable. Only then will a person be receptive to the new idea which promises to fit better.

 

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