Saturday, October 19, 2013

"Facts? No Thanks..."

Good piece in Psychology Today this week, follows up on the recent - The Downside of Tribes piece I did, and offers an interesting contrast to the recent piece/rant I did based on Joe Bagents  "Shoot the fat guys, hang the Smokers"

Facts?  No Thanks, I've Got Ideology

In fact, we often eschew facts for ideology. As a case example, let’s consider the strongly-held belief on the political right that industries and businesses are efficient and generative, whereas governments and state spending are considered inconveniences, or worse, impediments to development. Such beliefs represent an ideology – an organized set of beliefs that help us to make sense of the world. In keeping with this belief, companies such as Google and Apple are widely held up as golden examples of the power of self-driven innovation. But is this true? As observed by Mazzucato (2013), the Apple company in its early days was given a $500,000 cash injection in the form of a new business grant by the government. As she points out, even when not directly funded, private businesses benefit from all kinds of state-funded research, including the development of “the internet, GPS, touchscreen displays and even the voice-activated smartphone assistant Siri.”...
Upon exposure to such information, how are people likely to respond? People supporting state-funded enterprise and a strong government role in life will acknowledge these findings, perhaps even feeling that they “knew it all along” (even if they didn’t), what psychologists call the hindsight bias. Those opposing state-funds in business and healthcare are not likely to objectively read such information and dispassionately change their viewpoints to fit this new information. Rather, when faced with evidence disconfirming deeply held beliefs, we often ignore the new information, “doubling down” on the original belief. In psychology, we call this belief perseverance.
So, smarty pants blogger Tovarich... which is it?  Are we hunkering down in our tribes unable to see the facts?  Or falling in line as consumers of cheap shit, and culture, just as the corporate elite want?

Hell if I know.  Here's my stab at it - the frame of debate has gotten so damn small and we've become such cultural lemmings that we look for meaningless ways to distinguish ourselves and proclaim our "uniqueness" (like the sports example in the tribes piece), but on the "big" stuff - what does success mean? what's our purpose? how do you "make it?" - we're cultural lemmings, content to allow folks to pull our strings and damn anybody who's different.

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