Wednesday, December 30, 2015

True Believers

Wayne Dyer said there are two ways to have the tallest building in town. One is to tear down everyone else’s building. I always liked that and repeat it often. Lately, it occurred to me that there is a third way to have the tallest building in town:
Just convince/bribe some authority figures to declare that your building, in spite of all obvious evidence, is indeed the tallest. (Bonus points if you can con them into making it a law.)
We see it every day: Get a pack of politicians, reinforced by select networks, to repeat something over and over and over—if they can say it in a way that’s halfway clever or rhymes, so much the better. As any successful cult leader can testify, it doesn’t matter if it’s blatantly false; what matters is that they keep saying it.
Here’s a simple example of how it works: According to neurologist Richard E. Cytowic, two-thirds of the US population believes that we humans use only 10% of our brains. Nearly half of all science teachers believe it. It’s not true. It’s absurd. That doesn’t keep most folks from spouting it as fact. Why? Because they’ve done extensive research or applied a spark of common sense? No, because they’ve heard it repeated over and over by credible others. Spooky, ‘eh?

(“If you’re still defining ‘tallest’ merely in terms of height, you need to wise up. Savvy citizens measure tallness by desire, by clishmaclaver, and by divine right! It’s hard work, yes, but where did laziness ever get anyone? Consider David and Goliath. Who stood tallest when the dust cleared? When life gives you molehills, make mountains!”)     

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