True Believers Are Not Interested in Reality

A few of you might wonder why I don’t seem to care about the beliefs of those who criticize my ideas, views and analysis. The reasons behind my lack of empathy for the beliefs and sensibilities of those who strongly believe in any ideology comes an observation I made years ago.

True believers in any ideology have no interest in any representation of reality which does not confirm their pre-existing beliefs, biases and behaviors.

People with almost complete faith in any ideology, however rational it might seem, have ‘outsourced’ their ability to reason are therefore incapable of thinking anything that might even subtly contradict their pre-existing mental world. While many factors and circumstances can drive people into becoming ‘true believers’ in any given ideology, the general process is driven by a fragile ego.

It about feeling and believing that you are right, irrespective of any evidence to the contrary.

But why do people like to deceive themselves? What is the benefit of doing something that is not in your best interest? What are they trying to achieve? I believe that the answer to these questions lie in two conflicting parts of the human psyche. People like to believe that they are doing the best they can, but they also know (at some level) that they don’t know enough to believe that. While a minority of people can live with that uncertainty, most seemingly cannot.

Ideologies provide illusory all-encompassing and ‘correct’ models of reality. Belief in an ideology makes dumb and clever people feel much smarter and in control of something that is utterly beyond their control. Performing actions that follow from ideologies make them feel better and competent, even if has a negative effect on them.

An educated person seeking a technology based cure for a terminal case of cancer is no different from an illiterate villager who uses the services of a witch doctor to treat a life-threatening illness. Furthermore the oncologist who uses his degree to convince a dying patient to spend more money on treatment is far more disingenuous than the witch doctor. The same could be said of doctors prescribing medications and performing procedures that have no evidence based effect on the patient. But as I have said before, none of the involved parties have any interest in acknowledging reality. While we have effective drugs and treatments for some diseases, it is well-known among some circles that much of the expensive treatments for conditions from Type-2 diabetes, most forms of depression and schizophrenia, Alzheimers and most types of cancer are either barely effective, useless or frequently worse than useless.

We could focus on developing better treatments for such diseases, but pretending that we have understood and conquered them is much more comforting and lucrative.

Religions, both traditional and secular, are probably the best examples of self-delusion. How many people have become better human beings (by any criteria) through practicing the teachings of any prophet? Are religious Jews better people than secular Jews? are observant Christians better human beings than non-observant ones? We already know the answer to that question as far as Islam is concerned. What about Hindus? are the religiously inclined any better than the non-religiously inclined? Has belief in god or any scripture made the lives of true believers better by any objectively measurable criteria?

Did belief in any traditional religion result in agriculture becoming more productive, make cattle produce more milk, fatten pigs quicker, make hens lay more eggs, help you build better houses, result in better treatment or preventative measures for diseases or improve your sex life? So why were people from previous ages so universally obsessed with beliefs that did squat to make their lives better? I believe that acknowledging ignorance and relative impotence is hard for most people. Furthermore, spinning theological and sophistic arguments is much easier than doing anything remotely useful.

The same can said about those who believe in any secular -ism. Has extreme nationalistic pride made your life any better? Has unregulated capitalism made your life any more secure or pleasant? Do communist revolutions usually create a more humane society than the one they overthrew? Has libertarianism ever worked out? All of these -isms offer you grand theories of the world but fail to deliver what they promise. But you will find tons of suckers, including new converts, who will defend all of the above-mentioned (and similar) bankrupt ideologies. You will tons of people who will peddle explanations about the world based on race, IQ, CONservative values and other assorted bullshit- but what do they have to show for their beliefs? Does anybody?

The problem is that most people expect the universe to conform to their flavor of beliefs.

Even seemingly intelligent people want the universe to obey the equations they believe in. Yes, even those who are supposedly interested in studying reality objectively are more attached to their beliefs than doing what they claim to do. Might write more about this issue in a future post.

What do you think? Comments?

  1. September 5, 2012 at 8:31 pm

    wait, are you accusing feminists, Christians and white nationalists of giving up their critical thinking skills for unprovable dogma????

    you dirty boy, you….

  2. P Ray
    September 5, 2012 at 10:50 pm

    But why do people like to deceive themselves? What is the benefit of doing something that is not in your best interest?
    They believe that by siding with a majority belief that is a lie, they will be comfortably insulated from a bad fate because “everybody else is doing it”. Diffusion of the bad effect.

    • Trucidator Diaboli
      September 6, 2012 at 10:03 am

      Shit’s Advocate is a hypocrite liar trying to fool the stupid sheople.
      The more he advanced in his Masonic degrees and the more he was sodomized by his Knights Templar, the more he thought of himself as a god partaking in the fatherhood of shit Lucifer.
      You’re all fools to think that Shit’s Advocate is not a believer in anything: he is a true faithfull believer in shit Lucifer. And you’re all sheeps driven by “good shepherd” Lucifer through his agents like homosexual and pansexual pussified Shit’s Advocate.
      Death to Lucifer.

    • Trucidator Diaboli
      September 8, 2012 at 4:12 am

      And as Lenin said: “Call your enemy what you are, and always tell the exact opposite of the truth.” This is the rule Shit’s Advocate keeps following.

      • September 9, 2012 at 5:14 am

        Lenin was probably one of the most savvy men that ever lived. “Kto, kogo?” is another of his master pieces.

  3. September 6, 2012 at 4:03 am

    I truly agreed with your description of the “political believer”, but I guess the opinion regarding health issues is pretty distorted. One who is about to die will do everything in his power to try to avoid it, even if it is irrational. It’s basic instinct. However, to wonder why one believes a crook politician is honet even when confronted to evidences, is really something incomprehensible.

  4. Webe
    September 6, 2012 at 5:57 am

    It’s not that hard to understand why: Being part of a group/herd is an instinct. It’s an instinct because it increases your chances of survival and decreases your fear of death. As with a lot of emotional templates and instincts, it may not work 100% in a lot of situations (especially those in the modern world which do not dovetail with vestigial instinct), but for instant decision taking, it works.

  5. Matt Strictland
    September 8, 2012 at 11:42 am

    No one is truly rational all the time. We are all human.What counts though is what works.

    beyond that its all conjecture.

  6. March 22, 2014 at 5:30 pm

    Believe it or not, some religious rituals do have a basis in reality.

    Animal sacrifices required perfect specimens to offer to your God/Goddess/nature or ancestral spirits, which in turn led to improvements in animal husbandry quality control to produce said specimens, or at least so says Cracked.com. The priest got a free meal with the deal, of course.

    According to the book When The Snakes Awaken, some forms of divination were observations of unusual animal behaviors that often preceded earthquakes and other natural disasters that they could sense coming and therefore devised rituals that involved in the case of the Romans everybody in town leaving their house and participating in a public ceremony outdoors were they were safe from buildings collapsing..

    Then there’s the whole question of the spiritual dimension. Your writings strongly imply that you do not believe in its existence, ascribing such thoughts to primitive magical thinking. Well, try reading The Secret Science Behind Miracles as a primer on Kahunaism (Hawaiian shamanism) for an explanation of a scientific exploration of the human mind and soul taken by ancient medicine men, whose teachings can be found in all religions like diamonds in dunghills (to paraphrase Thomas Jefferson). Spiritual realities exist whether you believe in them or not, but a lot of people’s beliefs about them are either incomplete or just plain wrong in some or most respects, which is where superstitions come from.

    No need to spell out who ignorant or just plain unscrupulous men (and women to be fair) have taken the pure teachings meant to enlighten the hoi polloi and twisted them to their own ends. Religion isn’t complete bullshit, as there are diamonds in there. It’s just a question of not throwing out the baby with the bathwater, which is where most people fail, in either believing everything, bullshit and all (fundamentalists) or believing in nothing, truth and all (nihilists and some atheists).

  1. September 8, 2012 at 7:35 pm
  2. January 3, 2013 at 5:27 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: