Food for ThoughtsFor the English speaker

☆ People Believe what They Want to Believe

We all interpret facts different as it is about our whole outlook on the world. This is a wild mix of our DNA, the way we were raised and the experiences we made in the past. Not only this but also how we view and judge ourselves as well as what our friends believe play a crucial role in our outlook on the world.

Tell me, have you ever had a dynamic as well as heated discussion in which your counterpart said you were right in your argumentation and that he has therefore changed his point of view? Imagine yourself discussion religious belief or politics and showing up with a strong argumentation line.

Did you ever succeed to convince the other one of your opinion because of the facts you have had prepared for the talk? Or because of the long speak rich of deep words or the statistics you have worked out?

Me personally not. A change of mind like this barely occurs in discussions that are emotionally touching.

The reason for this behavior is simple. We keep certain opinions, yes. But we do not maintain our views because they rely on the underlying facts. Therefore, it is not likely that the counterparts change their minds when you bring up arguments.

What really happens is we form our beliefs with the help of our gut feeling. After that, we rationalize our opinions and are in constant search for facts that are supporting our belief. Again, the facts are not leading us to a certain view. It is more the way around: our gut feeling is the base of our belief and we back it up with arguments.

When debating, neither your words, nor your facts or any statistics will make the other one change her or his view. She or he will always believe in what they want to believe.

It is completely nonsense to insist on changing her/ his view.

Actually, it is even a waste of time.

And same applies for me. If someone wants to change my belief system, it will not work. I am not saying that it is impossible to change what I believe in. What I say is that it cannot be changed externally.

For a change, you need an internal experience. You and I have to live it for ourselves. You cannot do it for me. And I cannot do it for you.

Just look back in life: how often have you changed your beliefs. Whether a cold pizza is better than a warm one. Whether real love really exists. Whether you believe in god or not. When did you stop voting for the socialist party and when did you decide for divorce?

In how many cases the reason for this change was the outcome of an intense discussion with your wife or colleague? And how often did your believe change to what happened in your life as e.g the death of a close family member or the knowledge that your husband cheated on you? Maybe you were also newly surrounded by different people who live a new life ethic codex? Or you moved out of your old home town?

My point is that it is very probable that you changed your beliefs yourself. You had no one who changed the beliefs for you. You changed your belief system because you adopted to a fresh situation or a new environment.

So, next time you are in a heated situation in which you or your counterpart is holding on her or his view, keep in mind that most probably you will not changing the person’s view. Even if you consider her or his view as dumb and stupid. At the same time I am not saying you should not speak up to tell your truth. Just be aware that chances to shift your partner from one perspective to another one are realistically pretty low.

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