13
   

REALITY VERSUS FEEL GOOD

 
 
Foxfyre
 
Reply Sun 31 Aug, 2008 12:40 pm
I read this today. I hope some will discuss it at face value on its own merits, even if you know the author:

Quote:
The reason so many people misunderstand so many issues is not that these issues are so complex, but that people do not want a factual or analytical explanation that leaves them emotionally unsatisfied. They want villains to hate and heroes to cheer" and they don't want explanations that do not give them that.


Is he right?
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Type: Discussion • Score: 13 • Views: 3,851 • Replies: 43

 
roger
 
  5  
Reply Sun 31 Aug, 2008 12:49 pm
@Foxfyre,
Probably. It wouldn't be a complete explanation of what we accept and what we reject. I know many of us, self included, have a tendency to hear and read what we expect. We also tend to believe what we want to believe. Facts make a difference, but they need to be clearly stated. In other words, simply stated. Unpleasant facts are easier to contradict than those we intuitively support.

I think Old Europe is making the same statement elsewhere regarding Russian expansionism.

Is this where you are going with the thread, Foxfyre?
Thomas
 
  6  
Reply Sun 31 Aug, 2008 12:55 pm
@roger,
roger wrote:
Is this where you are going with the thread, Foxfyre?

Actually, I think Foxfyre intended to start an atheism thread. Although she quoted Sowell (I'm pretty sure it's him -- this is one of his favorite soundbites), she obviously wants to talk about her doubts in her Christianity, about the way the existence of gawd is supported by no evidence at all, but how she's kept believing in him because the thought was so comforting.

I applaud Foxfyre's openmindedness and encourage her to pursue her investigations wherever they may lead.
Foxfyre
 
  3  
Reply Sun 31 Aug, 2008 01:10 pm
@roger,
roger wrote:

Probably. It wouldn't be a complete explanation of what we accept and what we reject. I know many of us, self included, have a tendency to hear and read what we expect. We also tend to believe what we want to believe. Facts make a difference, but they need to be clearly stated. In other words, simply stated. Unpleasant facts are easier to contradict than those we intuitively support.

I think Old Europe is making the same statement elsewhere regarding Russian expansionism.

Is this where you are going with the thread, Foxfyre?


I had nothing in mind in particular when I noted the quote and thought it rather profound. I certainly did not have any religious concept in mind, despite Thomas's attempt to pick a fight.

But I think you might have hit on an important component of the thesis when you say "Unpleasant facts are easier to contradict than those we intuitively support."

But I think the author was looking at it from an even broader perspective. Sometimes we very much want to believe and we don't easily accept negative assessments of those things or people we want to believe in no matter how authentic or plausible those assessment might be. Nor do we easily accept positive assessments re those things or people we want to be angry with or hate. We want unassailable heroes and thoroughly despicable villains.

It isn't that contradiction is easier, but that we resist it when it threatens to burst our bubble no matter what the topic.



0 Replies
 
Ramafuchs
 
  -2  
Reply Sun 31 Aug, 2008 01:43 pm
@Thomas,
Reality sucksfeel good smells like gutter
0 Replies
 
Brandon9000
 
  4  
Reply Sun 31 Aug, 2008 02:40 pm
@Foxfyre,
Sure. You couldn't be more accurate. So many people believe that they won't really die exactly; they'll just go to a magical better place, and that eventually God will punish most of their enemies. The ability to remove one's hopes and fears from an analysis is not that common.
Foxfyre
 
  2  
Reply Sun 31 Aug, 2008 02:47 pm
@Brandon9000,
Brandon9000 wrote:

Sure. You couldn't be more accurate. So many people believe that they won't really die exactly; they'll just go to a magical better place, and that eventually God will punish most of their enemies. The ability to remove one's hopes and fears from an analysis is not that common.


But there is no evidence that one person can show another about that Brandon, either one way or another. So that analogy doesn't really fit within this thesis.

But take a religious figure such as say Jeremiah Wright and/or Jerry Falwell. I think most people think of both negatively. But attach either to a celebrity figure in the news, I think the thesis kicks in as to whether a person is more likely to condemn such a relationship or shrug it off as unimportant.
Robert Gentel
 
  2  
Reply Sun 31 Aug, 2008 03:22 pm
@Foxfyre,
This thread is funny. Nearly everyone saw the example they wanted to see.

Edit: including myself.
Foxfyre
 
  2  
Reply Sun 31 Aug, 2008 03:23 pm
@Robert Gentel,
What example was that?
rosborne979
 
  3  
Reply Sun 31 Aug, 2008 03:26 pm
@Foxfyre,
Quote:
I read this today. I hope some will discuss it at face value on its own merits, even if you know the author:

Quote:
The reason so many people misunderstand so many issues is not that these issues are so complex, but that people do not want a factual or analytical explanation that leaves them emotionally unsatisfied. They want villains to hate and heroes to cheer" and they don't want explanations that do not give them that.


Is he right?

But in many cases the issues are complex. Compared to the volume of information out there, people have very little direct experience. Almost everything we know beyond the world we touch with our fingertips comes from other sources which we must choose to trust or not. But trust is an emotional thing. So most of the information we deal with in our lives is tinged with a dose of subjective emotionalism.

I think that people misunderstand issues partly because they are complex, and partly because most of the information available to them is being distorted through an emotional lens. Many people do not know how to differentiate between logical thought and emotional thought.

Robert Gentel
 
  3  
Reply Sun 31 Aug, 2008 03:26 pm
@Foxfyre,
That everyone in this world is crazy except for me and thee, and sometimes I worry about thee.
Foxfyre
 
  3  
Reply Sun 31 Aug, 2008 03:37 pm
@rosborne979,
rosborne979 wrote:

Quote:
I read this today. I hope some will discuss it at face value on its own merits, even if you know the author:

Quote:
The reason so many people misunderstand so many issues is not that these issues are so complex, but that people do not want a factual or analytical explanation that leaves them emotionally unsatisfied. They want villains to hate and heroes to cheer" and they don't want explanations that do not give them that.


Is he right?

But in many cases the issues are complex. Compared to the volume of information out there, people have very little direct experience. Almost everything we know beyond the world we touch with our fingertips comes from other sources which we must choose to trust or not. But trust is an emotional thing. So most of the information we deal with in our lives is tinged with a dose of subjective emotionalism.

I think that people misunderstand issues partly because they are complex, and partly because most of the information available to them is being distorted through an emotional lens. Many people do not know how to differentiate between logical thought and emotional thought.




I think you have furthered the thesis here Ros. It isn't much of a stretch to take "available information distorted through an emotional lens' and carry it forward to a (therefore they reject) "an explanation that does not leave them emotionally satisfied." And when that happens, it is often the messenger rather than the message itself that is resented. How dare you/he/they/I say something like that? It doesn't feel right. It doesn't satisfy. You made me feel uncomfortable or angry or irritated. You aren't following the script I want to hear and I dislike you for it.

I think that might be why so many A2K discussions dissolve into insult fests or contempt for another's opinion.
Foxfyre
 
  2  
Reply Sun 31 Aug, 2008 03:38 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Robert Gentel wrote:

That everyone in this world is crazy except for me and thee, and sometimes I worry about thee.


At first blush, I thought you were being flippant here. But on second look, I think this might further the thesis too. Emotionally we all want to be right, and it is on that emotional basis that we reject an argument that would make us wrong. And therefore the other person must be made wrong.

I don't know if that is how you intended it, but that's one way I could interpret it.
0 Replies
 
Foofie
 
  3  
Reply Sun 31 Aug, 2008 06:33 pm
@Foxfyre,
Quote:
The reason so many people misunderstand so many issues is not that these issues are so complex, but that people do not want a factual or analytical explanation that leaves them emotionally unsatisfied. They want villains to hate and heroes to cheer" and they don't want explanations that do not give them that.
=====================================================
I do not think people necessarily "misunderstand" issues. I believe oftentimes one understands issues from the one perspective of his/her world view. It is just a matter of HOW one understands an issue.
Brandon9000
 
  3  
Reply Sun 31 Aug, 2008 06:54 pm
@Foxfyre,
Foxfyre wrote:

Brandon9000 wrote:

Sure. You couldn't be more accurate. So many people believe that they won't really die exactly; they'll just go to a magical better place, and that eventually God will punish most of their enemies. The ability to remove one's hopes and fears from an analysis is not that common.


But there is no evidence that one person can show another about that Brandon, either one way or another. So that analogy doesn't really fit within this thesis.

But take a religious figure such as say Jeremiah Wright and/or Jerry Falwell. I think most people think of both negatively. But attach either to a celebrity figure in the news, I think the thesis kicks in as to whether a person is more likely to condemn such a relationship or shrug it off as unimportant.

You may not like the fact that it fits, but it fits pretty well:

"people do not want a factual or analytical explanation that leaves them emotionally unsatisfied"

You said it yourself, there's no evidence whatever that Heaven exists, but people don't want to face the fact that they're just a machine that's going to stop, and that's all there is, so they don't face it.
rosborne979
 
  3  
Reply Sun 31 Aug, 2008 09:26 pm
@Foxfyre,
Quote:
I think you have furthered the thesis here Ros. It isn't much of a stretch to take "available information distorted through an emotional lens' and carry it forward to a (therefore they reject) "an explanation that does not leave them emotionally satisfied."

I guess my basic point was that there are a combination of things going on here, and that the person who wrote the original quote didn't do much to further the understanding of human behavior by oversimplifying things.

Foxfyre
 
  2  
Reply Sun 31 Aug, 2008 11:01 pm
@Brandon9000,
Brandon9000 wrote:

Foxfyre wrote:

Brandon9000 wrote:

Sure. You couldn't be more accurate. So many people believe that they won't really die exactly; they'll just go to a magical better place, and that eventually God will punish most of their enemies. The ability to remove one's hopes and fears from an analysis is not that common.


But there is no evidence that one person can show another about that Brandon, either one way or another. So that analogy doesn't really fit within this thesis.

But take a religious figure such as say Jeremiah Wright and/or Jerry Falwell. I think most people think of both negatively. But attach either to a celebrity figure in the news, I think the thesis kicks in as to whether a person is more likely to condemn such a relationship or shrug it off as unimportant.

You may not like the fact that it fits, but it fits pretty well:

"people do not want a factual or analytical explanation that leaves them emotionally unsatisfied"

You said it yourself, there's no evidence whatever that Heaven exists, but people don't want to face the fact that they're just a machine that's going to stop, and that's all there is, so they don't face it.


No, I didn't say there was no evidence. I said that you cannot produce evidence to prove or disprove it to me, nor I to you. So we are dealing with a belief or conviction for which no demonstrable proof is available, and I think that is not what the author of the initial quote intended. (I don't have a clue what religious beliefs or or non beliefs that person might hold actually.)

Now it is true that your belief may be quite emotionally unsatisfactory to me and my belief quite emotionally unsatisfactory to you, so in that regard the concept fits the thesis.

But I'm pretty sure that the author was dealing with concepts that do actually have demonstrably yes, no, or maybe answers and notes that we can resist such answers when they are emotionally unsatisfying.

Foxfyre
 
  2  
Reply Sun 31 Aug, 2008 11:03 pm
@rosborne979,
rosborne979 wrote:

Quote:
I think you have furthered the thesis here Ros. It isn't much of a stretch to take "available information distorted through an emotional lens' and carry it forward to a (therefore they reject) "an explanation that does not leave them emotionally satisfied."

I guess my basic point was that there are a combination of things going on here, and that the person who wrote the original quote didn't do much to further the understanding of human behavior by oversimplifying things.




How can something a number of things going on here be so simple? I think it was not simple at all, but provides a great deal of potential for a good discussion. (Which is why I posted it of course.)

Was the statement emotionally unsatisfying to you? If so why? How would you word it to be emotionally satisfying to you?
Foxfyre
 
  2  
Reply Sun 31 Aug, 2008 11:07 pm
@Foofie,
Foofie wrote:

Quote:
The reason so many people misunderstand so many issues is not that these issues are so complex, but that people do not want a factual or analytical explanation that leaves them emotionally unsatisfied. They want villains to hate and heroes to cheer" and they don't want explanations that do not give them that.
=====================================================
I do not think people necessarily "misunderstand" issues. I believe oftentimes one understands issues from the one perspective of his/her world view. It is just a matter of HOW one understands an issue.


Actually Foofie, I think that is much closer to what the author was getting at, or at least what he was saying to me. I agree that we don't misunerstand the issues, but he is saying that we want issues framed in such a way that it feels right or satisfying to us.

For example, if you are convinced that X is a scumbag with no redeeming qualities and Y is somebody to admire and emulate,you might resist complimentary information presented about X and even discount it or try to submerge in in negative comments. And you might resist negative information presented about Y and attempt to dismiss it or discredit it.

(I am speaking of a generic 'you' here, not you personally.)
0 Replies
 
Brandon9000
 
  3  
Reply Sun 31 Aug, 2008 11:10 pm
@Foxfyre,
Foxfyre wrote:

Brandon9000 wrote:

Foxfyre wrote:

Brandon9000 wrote:

Sure. You couldn't be more accurate. So many people believe that they won't really die exactly; they'll just go to a magical better place, and that eventually God will punish most of their enemies. The ability to remove one's hopes and fears from an analysis is not that common.


But there is no evidence that one person can show another about that Brandon, either one way or another. So that analogy doesn't really fit within this thesis.

But take a religious figure such as say Jeremiah Wright and/or Jerry Falwell. I think most people think of both negatively. But attach either to a celebrity figure in the news, I think the thesis kicks in as to whether a person is more likely to condemn such a relationship or shrug it off as unimportant.

You may not like the fact that it fits, but it fits pretty well:

"people do not want a factual or analytical explanation that leaves them emotionally unsatisfied"

You said it yourself, there's no evidence whatever that Heaven exists, but people don't want to face the fact that they're just a machine that's going to stop, and that's all there is, so they don't face it.


No, I didn't say there was no evidence. I said that you cannot produce evidence to prove or disprove it to me, nor I to you. So we are dealing with a belief or conviction for which no demonstrable proof is available, and I think that is not what the author of the initial quote intended. (I don't have a clue what religious beliefs or or non beliefs that person might hold actually.)

Now it is true that your belief may be quite emotionally unsatisfactory to me and my belief quite emotionally unsatisfactory to you, so in that regard the concept fits the thesis.

But I'm pretty sure that the author was dealing with concepts that do actually have demonstrably yes, no, or maybe answers and notes that we can resist such answers when they are emotionally unsatisfying.

I'm sorry, Foxy, you're my friend, but all that's happened is that we've found one of yours, and my answer is emotionally unsatisfying to both of us, but suggested strongly by a rational consideration of the evidence. The overwhelming evidence is that the human body is a machine that operates by physical principles and simply loses functionality with age, eventually failing. There is no evidence that we don't really die, but that, instead, our magical spirits go to a magical better place where we remain conscious forever. It's a huge case of people refusing to accept the result suggested by analysis because they don't want to. I don't think the author was restricting his description to things that can be absolutely proven beyond any doubt. Anyway, it doesn't matter so much what the author intended. I'm afraid you've demonstrated the thesis that people won't accept the results suggested by analysis if they don't like the answer on an emotional level.
 

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