Inner wall, mental block: stronger than a cement block, than an evil spell. How to break spells, break mental blocks invisible to those who live inside them?
|HOME IDEA EMPORIUM IDEA 1 * 2 * 3 * 4 * 5 * 6 * 7 * 8 * 9 * 10 * 11 * 12 * 13 * 14 * 15 * 16* STUPID OPINION * HOW TO THINK|
The Ultimate Reality
The Brain Game
Walls in the Mind,
Give Peace a Chance
innerwear that dares
born with the capacity to learn how to think.
Breaking the Spell of
Inner Walls -
STRATEGY ONE to BREAK THE SPELL OF AN INNER WALL
STRATEGY TWO to BREAK THE SPELL OF AN INNER WALL
HOW CAN ONE GET THROUGH A MENTAL BLOCK?
Remember that the evil spell cast on Snow White lasted a hundred years - no one thought of vaulting over the thick hedge of thorns she slept behind. Inner walls can last forever, be passed down, generation to generation, the thorns ever thicker.
STEP ONE: RECOGNIZE THIS, NOT AS BAD THINKING, BUT AS AN INNER WALL
STEP TWO: RECOGNIZE THAT IT OFTEN TAKES A LONG TIME
STEP THREE: ONE STRATEGY, BUILD A BETTER OPINION
For example, when I teach Valuing Diversity,
many students come in with the idea that the whole class will be a boring
and basic course on Everybody-Is-Equal. Many also come in with the opinion
that all diversities are equal, and that we have no right to judge values,
behaviors, etc. In our opinion, they may be wrong, but it's just an opinion.
After all, our opinion is only our opinion, and all opinions are equal.
So if in some societies, a woman has her fingers cut off if she is caught
wearing nail polish, who are we to judge that culture? The same same
goes for slavery, genital mutilation, etc.
Class one. I ask what kinds of diversities they value and what they don't. Obvious things they don't value include stuff like beating babies to death.
We go on to explore why they value some diversities (diverse styles of music, different races, different interests, different aptitudes and learning styles) and not others.
An underlying difference between valued and non-valued diversities: those which harm people tend not be to valued; those which allow people to express themselves and develop themselves (different career interests, different sexual orientations) tend to be valued.
In fact, throughout the course, quite a number of students spend time looking at why they value some diversities and not others, why some diversities should be valued and not others.
So they are building an opinion - based on thinking about human nature, about what constitutes harm, about what might make a culture more beneficial or more harmful.
At some point, the question always does up - but aren't all cultures equal, like aren't all people equal? Well, I may say, take a quick glance at some pretty horrific cultures, societies, ideologies.
Some students suddenly freeze up - one cannot say any culture is better than another. Who are we to judge?
Most students though hold onto other things discussed in class, other views and ideas. No, it's not as good if there's no equality between women and men, than if there is. No, it's not okay if the culture harms many people, stunts them intellectually, emotionally, psychologically, physically, cuts them off from basic needs like health care, education, or if people are starved to death, etc.
The more solid their opinion that some opinions are more valid than others, the more it has a lot of backing, the more they can call on many examples, images, stories, the easier it is for them to dismiss (and even present arguments against) the opinion that all opinions are equal.
STEP FOUR: A SECOND STRATEGY TO BREAK SPELLS, CRACK AN INNER WALL
In everyday life as well, contact and empathy can be crucial. It's easier to believe a stereotype about a group if we don't know and don't care about anyone who belongs to it.
Don't count on this one, though. (Don't count on any particular strategy, in fact - just find out about as many as you can, and also find out relative success rates.)
Back to empathy not always working, if one knows and is close to someone from a group. People strongly against homosexuality often reject their own children, when they find out about a supposedly beloved child's sexual orientation. People reject supposedly beloved children for a whole range of reasons when the child (now an adult) breaks a prejudiced parent's beliefs. A child chooses a partner from a lower caste. A child chooses a partner instead of acquiescing to an arranged marriage. A child marries someone from a different religion, from a different ethnic group, from a different race. A child does not marry, but instead lives with someone. A child has a baby without being married.
In general, the weaker a belief, the easier it is to topple it. Some beliefs though are so rigidly held, that no matter how stupid they are and no matter how good the counter-arguments are, the belief triumphs easily.
I recently say Downfall, about Hitler's last days. Many of the officials around him wanted him to surrender. His only concern was for his own life, for as many hours as he could still live. Sometimes he fantasized about regiments coming to the rescue. Sometimes he counted the hours he could still have, if thousands of barely armed children died for each hour. His greatest pride was that he had killed millions of Jews. There was not even a shred of hope of getting through to him about the value of the lives of the German people.
I suppose though that every little bit of softening helps, every bit of chipping against a stupid idea - and many people do have their rigid opinions softened bit by bit by evidence and experience.
General conclusions. I've found that a head-on confrontation isn't most effective - because most people do not give thinking much weight. They don't say, oh let's check the evidence. They response viscerally, not to acknowledge that even the intensity of the visceral response means there may be something particularly crazy at work, but to act as if the strength of their response means they are right.
I experience being up against a rigid wall. They experience themselves as not just right but, it's my guess, attacked - and as they say, offense is the best defense. So they attack.
But what happens when I can't get through hasn't been the question. The question has been: what have been effective ways of getting through?
One - helping people build a better opinion that they can not just believe in, but that they can justify.
Two - contact and empathy - working to build empathy for those people have been cut off from, in other words, not working with logic but with the emotions.
AND THAT GETS ME TO STEP FIVE:
Strategy three - working to get people to understand
how to reason, how to think logically, how to evaluate information, so they can see the strengths and flaws in arguments,
including their own.
I'm going to conclude by asking: what's worked for you, in terms of getting through to people with opinions un backed by reality? Also, what have been, for you, totally ineffective strategies? Live and learn. Live and laugh.
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THE IDEA EMPORIUM EXPLORES HOW TO BREAK SPELLS, DEMOLISH AN INNER WALL *
GOOD QUESTION: HOW DOES ONE BREAK THROUGH INNER WALLS, MENTALS BLOCKS?
HOW DOES ONE BREAK SPELLS?
HOW DOES ONE GET SOMEONE TO REALIZE THEY HAVE BEEN CAUGHT IN A SPELL?
Inner wall, mental block: stronger than a cement block,