Fear of Changing Your Mind

“A common example undertaken in research studies uses this foot-in-the-door technique: two groups are asked to place a large, very unsightly sign in their front yard reading “Drive Carefully”. The members of one group have previously been approached to put a small sign in their front window reading “Be a Safe Driver”, and almost all agreed. In one study, in response to the “Drive Carefully” request 76 percent of those who were initially asked to display the small sign complied, in comparison with only 17 percent of those in the other group not exposed to the earlier, less onerous, request.”

“It is the fear of death that keeps people from changing their mind a lot of time. If you’re so attached to your identity, if your identity is so strongly fused to your ideas, of course, you’re not going to change your ideas, because it feels like dying.”

“Sometimes it’s necessary to draw a boundary and say, this is right and this is wrong. But it’s not always the right thing to do when a polarity comes along. Sometimes there’s a lot of insight to be gained from considering, from really visiting each side of the polarity and inquiring with open-hearted compassion, what value is there? what have I got to learn? And usually what you find is there’s value on both sides.”

“On social media, you’ll see that everyone is mostly just patrolling the boundaries of their tribe, and pretending to have an argument about facts, pretending to talk about the vaccine or the latest political scandal. But really, what we’re doing is just saying, are you in or are you out? Are you on Team Red? Or Team Blue? Are you on my team, or not? Are you us or are you them? And a lot of the emotional intensity that you always see on social media, is because people’s sense of collective identity is being threatened… it’s because their belonging is at stake. So I’ve had that lens for the last few years — I just assume that basically, that micro-nationalistic sort of tribalism is what is motivating most people’s participation in social media. And then I intentionally seek out many tribes and to always notice: which tribe am I in?”

“[There] are those who prefer certainty to truth, those in church who put the purity of dogma ahead of the integrity of love. And what a distortion of the gospel it is to have limited sympathies and unlimited certainties, when the very reverse, to have limited certainties but unlimited sympathies, is not only more tolerant but far more Christian.”

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