To me, what matters more than a person’s beliefs is the process through which they acquire their beliefs.
Most people acquire most of their fundamental beliefs about life, death, love, success, through a mere process of indoctrination. They get told something over and over again, often from a young age, by so called authority figures, it connects with some of their emotional needs, and they eventually end up believing it and using it as a compass in life. Later they may try to justify with logical arguments why they believe something, but typically that’s just backwards rationalization.
Even through indoctrination, a person can accumulate many realistic and accurate beliefs. However, through the same process, they can also accumulate all sorts of wacky, irrational beliefs.
Essentially, such a person is a victim of their social environment, be it good or bad, pink or purple. And that’s what concerns me. Because such a person is so vulnerable psychologically you never know what crazy ideas they’ll have a couple of years from now, because of the social conditioning they’ve been exposed to during this time. And then they’ll probably become a hazard for themselves and for others. Not to mention really annoying to talk to.
That’s why the kind of people I always like to meet and I wanna be friends with are people who acquire their beliefs mainly through reasoning, research and experience.
Nobody can completely avoid indoctrination of course. But people who have a rational, scientific approach to accumulating knowledge have a truly increased immunity to it. Such a person, even if at some point they may have a core belief that’s quite loony, sooner or later, through reflection, inquiry and life experience, they will likely realize that and they will change their mind. It’s only a matter of time.
It’s stimulating to talk with such people, you can learn a lot from them, and they can learn from you if you can backup your claims with solid, sensible arguments.
That’s one way I choose who I hang out with.
Post first published here: http://goo.gl/NB2EPq