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Derek Thompson: Why You Believe Lies You Hear More Often

Familiarity… That’s basically what guides us. Trillions of neurons wiring and firing together with one goal, to hold together an individuals identity, to ensure survival and increase the chances of reproduction. So each reaction to the outside world long term or short term has a coherence about it. Coherence offers up a smoother journey through life, attracts easier, defends and attacks more efficiently….. but all subjective and develops from the platform of genes, through childhood experience and cultural insistence.
Familiarity is the geofence parameter that an individuals free will thought process struggles to observe let alone pierce through. That safety net of familiarity sets in place as we form and sustain the paradox of identity. Freedom of expression, forming opinions and beliefs is a little like jumping out of an airplane with a parachute but where you land you have little control over. Familiarity is the gravity pull, genes, social climate, cultural rules, circumstances are the wind that blows during flight.
This is the most important thing that we all need to learn and understand, yet humans are lost in the assumption that they self directed all about their identity, that all choices were skilfully set into place. The most obvious of observations…. FAMILIARITY GUIDES US, yet people still believe in their religious faith despite being part of a nation or region that coincidentally has a vast majority of a specific faith very different to multiple other faiths forming the same geographic majority patterns elsewhere. So easy to grasp, as easy as 2+2 =4, yet hardly anyone will let go of their attachment.
So what of that false way of believing in belief then, attached so deeply to emotion individually and culturally? Those who grasp what I write, well, good, we are simply in an era that has progressed vastly from previous eras in many ways thanks to critical thinking and reason, but quite clearly we still have a long way to go. We are apes with a newly formed thinking area at the front of our brain that can rationalize. Language, music, metaphor, humor, we only discovered recently some thousands of years ago… We are doing well, continual progress, but as a collective, still very ignorant, still unaware of how brain creates mind, the most fundamental of all knowledge out there, yet nowhere near being a norm in our education systems or media.
It’s fascinating how we look at a beautiful symmetric face and lost in praise of that person as though the ownership of their beauty required years of hard work to cultivate… No! Just mummy and daddy having some fun and then 9 months later a bundle of genes popped out of a hole. Yet beautiful people are somehow more important or better, hardly anyone can observe an accident of sorts. Our potential of pseudoscience nonsense expands beyond religion and politics, sustaining such irrational thought and opinion experience in so many different ways. That’s just how it is this era… So much irrationality normalized as ‘realities’
Great progress made yes, medicine for example has come on leaps and bounds, but still a long way to go toward….. Toward what I don’t know but being guided by reason + being aware of the trap of familiarity that can often blind our reasoning and embracing the fact that we cannot be anything as a collective other than what we are in this specific era so far behind from future paradigms 500 years into the future that will giggle at our innocent ignorance just as we do of times past. This acceptance and awareness can help alleviate the anxiousness of it all, that is a liberating place to be in the meantime as we float through space and time, a spec of dust within a vast cosmos.

By Panayiotis Stavrou.

[Video source: Big Think YouTube channel]