April 4, 2021

NEO: Why new facts often don’t matter once a belief system has been established.

Removing a keystone – if a person has a keystone within his or her belief system – can cause a system to collapse in a fairly sudden and dramatic manner. I think that, during my own change process, both things happened – a slow accruing of evidence as well as some more sudden and important revelations (my change story contains some examples of each, but here’s one of the latter). Another person who had a “keystone” change experience was David Horowitz, a far left activist whose change to the right was originally sparked by learning that certain leftists he thought were decent were actually cold-blooded killers.

Most people’s belief systems are very very recalcitrant to change, and some are even impervious to it. In the latter cases – which I think are quite common – every small brick that might be removed from the edifice is almost immediately replaced with another brick, making the structure about as strong as before. Maybe even stronger, because it’s withstood many challenges. That’s the function of propaganda – to suppress the truth if it undermines the preferred narrative, but if the truth gets out, to immediately change the subject and come up with a new story to replace it. Then when that’s challenged, there’s another story and another and another for people to use to shore up anything that might be crumbling.

Read the whole thing.

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