Convinced Against Our Will

“A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.”

–old saying, used by Dale Carnegie in How to Win Friends and Influence People

The newspaper columnist Leonard Pitts explored a few fake news items of the recent past (“Truth, sadly, is not something we all value,” The Seattle Times, Oct 8, 2017).

One fake story led to a shooting in an innocent pizza parlor by an individual who believed ridiculous stories about the business, repeated on propaganda sites.

The fact that Barrack Obama has a legal birth certificate from Hawaii or that his birth was reported in a verifiable news item does not stop birther stories that he wasn’t born in the United States.

Pitts lists reputable groups (newspapers, schools of journalism, fact checking sites) all attempting to bring discernment to our decisions on what we read and believe.

He’s a pessimist, pointing to research suggesting that people tend to “double down on the false belief” when facts prove them wrong.

Our worth seems tied to what we believe. We find it difficult to think that we can be imperfect, that we can be duped. We seek, not truth, but validation of our perfection.

We are in need of listeners. We need to listen, not just to what our neighbors say they believe, waiting impatiently to argue our side. We need to understand why our neighbors believe as they do, to be touched by the needs they express. If we understand each other, we may be able to move closer to finding truth.

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