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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

On Beliefs and Opinions

After finishing for the day at the lab, I returned to the office. Jeff wanted to talk politics. I told him I think that most democrats and republicans look for things to confirm their already deeply held beliefs set early in their lives--beliefs not just about politics, but philosophy-of-life beliefs and opinions some of which have political implications. Devotees of a particular persuasion appear to reason and search for facts to back up their position, but all this is secondary to their strong beliefs deeply confirmed in their characters. Facts and rationales differing from their beliefs really don't have impact and are easily ignored--or in any case, not the least bit persuasive in the end. For example, I feel comfortable with big government. Highly evolved regulation to meet the present challenges presented by many and various factors is deeply reasonable to me--even if it is big, since the challenges it is designed to meet are big. But to a conservative this is anathema--the conservative is quick to find government excesses and abuses. We are both comfortable with our deeply set beliefs and can easily withstand any evidence mustered against our positions. The neat thing is that we are probably better off with incorrigible believers since the political fray is not an erudite pursuit, but rather a rough and tumble mediation of passions. People are not very successful at "just pretend" for very long. They want to express what they really feel, deep down. By both sides being true to themselves, truth in the end will be excruciatingly accommodated. That is, the results frequently will not be pretty, but will have the beauty (if it can be so called) of the manifested truth of human experiences and consequent beliefs.

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