This isn’t really what i want to write about next, but it’s been plugging my cache.  So maybe if i get it out of the way I can get on to something else!

How to miss reality in 2 easy steps:

Step 1 – Adopt an ideology

And it doesn’t really matter which ideology.  It could be a religion, a political viewpoint, a cause (animal rights, environmentalism, poor children in third world countries, gun rights, etc.) . . .  Any ideology will do.  If you think your ideology is immune to contributing to a false view of reality then . . . wow, all i can say is try thinking harder.

Now i know many people think that having a particular ideology is, by itself, sufficient to ensure a skewed view of things.  But in my experience i’ve met people from a variety of viewpoints who still managed to have a pretty clear minded view of things.  They were able to tell when their ‘camp’ was making stuff up and when their viewpoint was based on evidence.  They were able to see the beneficial and the harmful in various views and perspectives.

So, if i’m not incorrect and having an ideology isn’t enough, missing reality also requires one to:

Step 2 – Listen only to approved, orthodox voices of your ideology and immediately discount any view coming from any other ideology

This is the “we are brilliant”  (or just as easily “we are righteous”) and “everyone else is dumb” view of the world.

That’s it.  In fact, that’s all that’s required.  Adopt an ideology, tune out everyone who doesn’t claim undying allegiance to your ideology, and PRESTO instant blindness.

It works (or i guess i should say doesn’t work!) in politics, and examples abound.

It works in religion (even within one religion w/ the denominational mess within Christianity, the Sunni-Shiite split in Islam, etc.).

It works in causes.

It can even work with genders if one becomes too gender-centric (ouch, that just hurt a bit – need to take my own medicine).

Now, here’s how to cure the problem in one easy step:

Choose to respect ALL people enough to actually make some effort to listen to them and evaluate their perspectives based on evidence, logic, and (dare I say it) generosity (Christians call this ‘grace’) rather than based on whether they come from your same ideological camp.

Choosing to listen more and speak less results in a clearer view of how things really are.