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Do you want the truth?


Resolute
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i wanna make a bold claim; you will never hear someone who has been in some sort of considerable pain (physical or psychological pain for which he/she wasn't responsible) for his/her entire (or most of his/her) life, say anything to the effect of "live life to the fullest", "life is what you make of it", "as long as you do your best (or keep trying) you'll get there (or shall be rewarded" or "if you make good choices/decisions, the outcome will probably be positive", unless he/she:

1. is mentally or emotionally retarded.

2. is delusional.

3. is stoned.

4. is being sarcastic.

5. hasn't really experienced actual pain for all/most of his/her life.

6. has an ulterior motive.


 

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tom cruise: "i want the truth!"

jack nicholson: "you can't handle the truth!"

~ a few good men

i believe that people simply can't accept reality, so they either delude themselves intentionally (by actively pursuing unrealistic concepts/ideas/philosophies/religions/etc.) or unintentionally (unknowingly developing psychological "defence/coping mechanisms" which can also lead to unrealistic concepts/ideas/philosophies/religions/etc.) or they become dysfunctional. i really can't imagine anyone being completely functional without having some type of delusion/defense mechanism or immersion (complete focus/attention on something). the only conceivable exception would be those who have a clear idea of reality but don't have any substantial problems that would paralyze them or hinder their progress.

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That's an interesting theory Resolute. I do agree that if someone has suffered that kind of pain, they do tend to understand that some life platitudes don't really help much.

But I'd swap your no.1 for emotionally retarded - those people just don't understand the extent of the pain of those emotions.

I am not sure though whether following the pursuits you mention is because someone 'can't accept reality.' Whether they are coping mechanisms or not, following philosophies or ideas or religion or something absorbing is part of life's rich pattern surely? The product of asking questions about the world.

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2 hours ago, jazz said:

That's an interesting theory Resolute. I do agree that if someone has suffered that kind of pain, they do tend to understand that some life platitudes don't really help much.

thanks.

 

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But I'd swap your no.1 for emotionally retarded - those people just don't understand the extent of the pain of those emotions.

you have a point, and so i've amended no.1 to include "emotional retardation". good observation, jazz.

 

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I am not sure though whether following the pursuits you mention is because someone 'can't accept reality.' Whether they are coping mechanisms or not, following philosophies or ideas or religion or something absorbing is part of life's rich pattern surely? The product of asking questions about the world.

i'd like to point out that by 'accept' i didn't mean 'acknowledge'. a person may acknowledge something, but still deem it unacceptable. e.g i acknowledge that the world is grossly unjust and unfair (putting it mildly) but i cant and won't accept that. injustice and unfairness are not okay, even tho they are unarguably real. this is the main reason why religions and philosophies of ultimate justice exist; to pacify people with false (or at least unproven with logic, science or observation) hope (heaven/reward/good karma/etc.) or fear (hell/punishment/bad karma/etc.). and don't even get me started on the absurdity of the concept of immanent justice.

"the product of asking questions about the world" 'asking questions' is all most people can do. most important things either have no answers, or the answers are extremely depressing.

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Just BTW; this topic reminded me of some concepts/terms, mainly:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Depressive_realism and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Just-world_hypothesis

but also https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning–Kruger_effect (mentioned also in this great article: http://www.psmag.com/health-and-behavior/confident-idiots-92793)

(Sorry for not contributing to the discussion and only posting links, but... I don't feel like having something to say.)

 

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@LaLa, interesting stuff. i'll comment after i'm done reading them.

this is profound, tho:

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In 1999, in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, my then graduate student Justin Kruger and I published a paper that documented how, in many areas of life, incompetent people do not recognize—scratch that, cannot recognize—just how incompetent they are, a phenomenon that has come to be known as the Dunning-Kruger effect. Logic itself almost demands this lack of self-insight: For poor performers to recognize their ineptitude would require them to possess the very expertise they lack. To know how skilled or unskilled you are at using the rules of grammar, for instance, you must have a good working knowledge of those rules, an impossibility among the incompetent. Poor performers—and we are all poor performers at some things—fail to see the flaws in their thinking or the answers they lack.

What’s curious is that, in many cases, incompetence does not leave people disoriented, perplexed, or cautious. Instead, the incompetent are often blessed with an inappropriate confidence, buoyed by something that feels to them like knowledge.

~ david dunning http://www.psmag.com/health-and-behavior/confident-idiots-92793

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also profound:

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Because it’s so easy to judge the idiocy of others, it may be sorely tempting to think this doesn’t apply to you. But the problem of unrecognized ignorance is one that visits us all. And over the years, I’ve become convinced of one key, overarching fact about the ignorant mind. One should not think of it as uninformed. Rather, one should think of it as misinformed.

An ignorant mind is precisely not a spotless, empty vessel, but one that’s filled with the clutter of irrelevant or misleading life experiences, theories, facts, intuitions, strategies, algorithms, heuristics, metaphors, and hunches that regrettably have the look and feel of useful and accurate knowledge. This clutter is an unfortunate by-product of one of our greatest strengths as a species. We are unbridled pattern recognizers and profligate theorizers. Often, our theories are good enough to get us through the day, or at least to an age when we can procreate. But our genius for creative storytelling, combined with our inability to detect our own ignorance, can sometimes lead to situations that are embarrassing, unfortunate, or downright dangerous—especially in a technologically advanced, complex democratic society that occasionally invests mistaken popular beliefs with immense destructive power (See: crisis, financial; war, Iraq). As the humorist Josh Billings once put it, “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” (Ironically, one thing many people “know” about this quote is that it was first uttered by Mark Twain or Will Rogers—which just ain’t so.)

Because of the way we are built, and because of the way we learn from our environment, we are all engines of misbelief. And the better we understand how our wonderful yet kludge-ridden, Rube Goldberg engine works, the better we—as individuals and as a society—can harness it to navigate toward a more objective understanding of the truth.

http://www.psmag.com/health-and-behavior/confident-idiots-92793

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again, so true:

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What this study illustrates is another general way—in addition to our cradle-born errors—in which humans frequently generate misbeliefs: We import knowledge from appropriate settings into ones where it is inappropriate.

~ same source.

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also:

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Some of our most stubborn misbeliefs arise not from primitive childlike intuitions or careless category errors, but from the very values and philosophies that define who we are as individuals. Each of us possesses certain foundational beliefs—narratives about the self, ideas about the social order—that essentially cannot be violated: To contradict them would call into question our very self-worth. As such, these views demand fealty from other opinions. And any information that we glean from the world is amended, distorted, diminished, or forgotten in order to make sure that these sacrosanct beliefs remain whole and unharmed.

 

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4 minutes ago, Klingcorn said:

The wall you inevitably come up against with such people is that they will pose the question, "what is truth?" What they are really asking is, "why can't my truth be just as true as your truth?" If it feels right to me then it must be right, right? The absurdity should be obvious. 

indeed it should, but as we've just read, it isn't. this article tho very long (i'm still not done reading it lol), is illuminating.

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12 minutes ago, Klingcorn said:

The wall you inevitably come up against with such people is that they will pose the question, "what is truth?" What they are really asking is, "why can't my truth be just as true as your truth?" If it feels right to me then it must be right, right? The absurdity should be obvious. 

 

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It is perhaps not so surprising to hear that facts, logic, and knowledge can be bent to accord with a person’s subjective worldview;

- same article.

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10 minutes ago, Klingcorn said:

I don't consider myself brilliant or particularly insightful, but there are times that I do so envy the stupid. I think the best cards that anyone can be dealt in this game of life is to be gifted with extraordinary physical traits/abilities and a mediocre or even dull intellect. In my experience, these types of people seem to be able to extract much more enjoyment out of life starting at a much younger age. 

you could have a point, but i think i disagree. i've actually said in some previous posts (somewhere on the boards) that superior physical qualities and circumstances could probably be more appreciated by highly intelligent and sensitive individuals who have the capacity to appreciate it more than their mindless counterparts. in contrast, more intelligent and sensitive people also suffer more under unfavorable circumstances (including inferior genes) than their less intellectual peers.

that makes mts' comment (which he deleted) more relevant.

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also:

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... Kahan’s conclusion: If two paragraphs of text are enough to send people on a glide path to polarization, simply giving members of the public more information probably won’t help them arrive at a shared, neutral understanding of the facts; it will just reinforce their biased views.

- same article.

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14 minutes ago, Klingcorn said:

And this gives the lie to the supposed infallibility of "statistics" for determining the truth of anything. I've said before that any and every perspective can be rationalized, facts are worthless in themselves. Argument is completely useless. It always, always, always resorts to a contest of force. I challenge anyone to give me one example of an argument, big or small, that, in the end, was not settled by a resort to force in some fashion (excluding cases where both parties agree to coexist but each retain the conviction of their own argument). 

this is why most religions are so intolerant of opposing views, and often react very unreasonably. i decided to not give examples so as not to offend followers of those religions.

Edited by Resolute
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One might think that opinions about an esoteric technology would be hard to come by. Surely, to know whether nanotech is a boon to humankind or a step toward doomsday would require some sort of knowledge about materials science, engineering, industry structure, regulatory issues, organic chemistry, surface science, semiconductor physics, microfabrication, and molecular biology. Every day, however, people rely on the cognitive clutter in their minds—whether it’s an ideological reflex, a misapplied theory, or a cradle-born intuition—to answer technical, political, and social questions they have little or no direct expertise in. We are never all that far from Tonya and the Hardings.

believe it or not :D, this has even happened to me (probably still does, tho much less than before, due to the shift in my critical thinking).

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The just-world hypothesis or just-world fallacy is the cognitive bias (or assumption) that a person's actions are inherently inclined to bring morally fair and fitting consequences to that person, to the end of all noble actions being eventually rewarded and all evil actions eventually punished. In other words, the just-world hypothesis is the tendency to attribute consequences to—or expect consequences as the result of—a universal force that restores moral balance. This belief generally implies the existence of cosmic justice, destiny, divine providence, desert, stability, or order, and has high potential to result in fallacy, especially when used to rationalize people's misfortune on the grounds that they "deserve" it.

The hypothesis popularly appears in the English language in various figures of speech that imply guaranteed negative reprisal, such as: "You got what was coming to you", "What goes around comes around", "chickens come home to roost", and "You reap what you sow". This hypothesis has been widely studied by social psychologists since Melvin J. Lerner conducted seminal work on the belief in a just world in the early 1960s.[1] Research has continued since then, examining the predictive capacity of the hypothesis in various situations and across cultures, and clarifying and expanding the theoretical understandings of just-world beliefs.[2]

 

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Emergence

Many philosophers and social theorists have observed and considered the phenomenon of belief in a just world. Lerner's work made the just-world hypothesis a focus of research in the field of social psychology.

Melvin Lerner

Lerner was prompted to study justice beliefs and the just-world hypothesis in the context of social psychological inquiry into negative social and societal interactions.[3] Lerner saw his work as extending Stanley Milgram's work on obedience. He sought to answer the questions of how regimes that cause cruelty and suffering maintain popular support, and how people come to accept social norms and laws that produce misery and suffering.[4]

Lerner's inquiry was influenced by repeatedly witnessing the tendency of observers to blame victims for their suffering. During his clinical training as a psychologist, he observed treatment of mentally ill persons by the health care practitioners with whom he worked. Though he knew them to be kindhearted, educated people, they often blamed patients for the patients' own suffering.[5] Lerner also describes his surprise at hearing his students derogate the poor, seemingly oblivious to the structural forces that contribute to poverty.[3] In a study on rewards, he observed that when one of two men was chosen at random to receive a reward for a task, that caused him to be more favorably evaluated by observers, even when the observers had been informed that the recipient of the reward was chosen at random.[6][7] Existing social psychological theories, including cognitive dissonance, could not fully explain these phenomena.[7] The desire to understand the processes that caused these phenomena led Lerner to conduct his first experiments on what is now called the just-world hypothesis.

 

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To explain these studies' findings, Lerner theorized that there was a prevalent belief in a just world. A just world is one in which actions and conditions have predictable, appropriate consequences. These actions and conditions are typically individuals' behaviors or attributes. The specific conditions that correspond to certain consequences are socially determined by a society's norms and ideologies. Lerner presents the belief in a just world as functional: it maintains the idea that one can influence the world in a predictable way. Belief in a just world functions as a sort of "contract" with the world regarding the consequences of behavior. This allows people to plan for the future and engage in effective, goal-driven behavior. Lerner summarized his findings and his theoretical work in his 1980 monograph The Belief in a Just World: A Fundamental Delusion.[5]

Lerner hypothesized that the belief in a just world is crucially important for people to maintain for their own well-being. But people are confronted daily with evidence that the world is not just: people suffer without apparent cause. Lerner explained that people use strategies to eliminate threats to their belief in a just world. These strategies can be rational or irrational. Rational strategies include accepting the reality of injustice, trying to prevent injustice or provide restitution, and accepting one's own limitations. Non-rational strategies include denial, withdrawal, and reinterpretation of the event.[citation needed]

There are a few modes of reinterpretation that could make an event fit the belief in a just world. One can reinterpret the outcome, the cause, and/or the character of the victim. In the case of observing the injustice of the suffering of innocent people, one major way to rearrange the cognition of an event is to interpret the victim of suffering as deserving.[1] Specifically, observers can blame victims for their suffering on the basis of their behaviors and/or their characteristics.[6] Much psychological research on the belief in a just world has focused on these negative social phenomena of victim blaming and victim derogation in different contexts.[2]

An additional effect of this thinking is that individuals experience less personal vulnerability because they do not believe they have done anything to deserve or cause negative outcomes.[2] This is related to the self-serving bias observed by social psychologists.[8]

Many researchers have interpreted just-world beliefs as an example of causal attribution. In victim blaming, the causes of victimization are attributed to an individual rather than to a situation. Thus, the consequences of belief in a just world may be related to or explained in terms of particular patterns of causal attribution.[9]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Just-world_hypothesis

@LaLa, the links you provided are a goldmine. and i'm not done digging lol.

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Illness

Other researchers have found that observers judge sick people as responsible for their illnesses. One experiment showed that persons suffering from a variety of illnesses were derogated on a measure of attractiveness more than healthy individuals were. In comparison to healthy people, victim derogation was found for persons presenting with indigestion, pneumonia, and stomach cancer. Moreover, derogation was found to be higher for those suffering from severer illnesses, except for those presenting with cancer.[26] Stronger belief in a just world has also been found to correlate with greater derogation of AIDS victims.[27]

Poverty

More recently, researchers have explored how people react to poverty through the lens of the just-world hypothesis. Strong belief in a just world is associated with blaming the poor, with weak belief in a just world associated with identifying external causes of poverty including world economic systems, war, and exploitation.[28][29]

The self as victim

See also: Psychological response to rape and Self blame

Some research on belief in a just world has examined how people react when they themselves are victimized. An early paper by Dr. Ronnie Janoff-Bulman found that rape victims often blame their own behavior, but not their own characteristics, for their victimization.[30] It was hypothesized that this may be because blaming one's own behavior makes an event more controllable.

These studies on victims of violence, illness, and poverty and others like them have provided consistent support for the link between observers' just-world beliefs and their tendency to blame victims for their suffering.[1] As a result, the just-world hypothesis has become widely accepted.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Just-world_hypothesis

shocking!

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Researchers have used measures of belief in a just world to look at correlates of high and low levels of belief in a just world.

Limited studies have examined ideological correlates of the belief in a just world. These studies have found sociopolitical correlates of just-world beliefs, including right-wing authoritarianism and the protestant work ethic.[35][36] Studies have also found belief in a just world to be correlated with aspects of religiousness.[37][38]

Studies of demographic differences, including gender and racial differences, have not shown systematic differences, but do suggest racial differences, with Black and African Americans having the lowest levels of belief in a just world.[39][40]

The development of measures of just-world beliefs has also allowed researchers to assess cross-cultural differences in just-world beliefs. Much research conducted shows that beliefs in a just world are evident cross-culturally. One study tested beliefs in a just world of students in 12 countries. This study found that in countries where the majority of inhabitants are powerless, belief in a just world tends to be weaker than in other countries.[41] This supports the theory of the just-world hypothesis because the powerless have had more personal and societal experiences that provided evidence that the world is not just and predictable.[42][clarification needed]

 

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Belief in unjust world has been linked to increased self-handicapping, criminality, defensive coping, anger and perceived future risk. It may also serve as ego-protective belief for certain individuals by justifying maladaptive behavior.[43][44][2]

well, i guess there's that too lol.

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Positive mental health effects

Though much of the initial work on belief in a just world focused on its negative social effects, other research suggests that belief in a just world is good, and even necessary, for mental health.[45] Belief in a just world is associated with greater life satisfaction and well-being and less depressive affect.[34][46] Researchers are actively exploring reasons that belief in a just world might have this relationship to mental health; it has been suggested that such beliefs could be a personal resource or coping strategy that buffers stress associated with daily life and with traumatic events.[47] This hypothesis suggests that belief in a just world can be understood as a positive illusion.[48]

Correlational studies also show that beliefs in a just world are correlated with internal locus of control.[19] Strong belief in a just world is associated with greater acceptance of and less dissatisfaction with negative events in one's life.[47] This may be one way in which belief in a just world affects mental health. Others have suggested that this relationship holds only for beliefs in a just world for oneself. Beliefs in a just world for others are related instead to the negative social phenomena of victim blaming and victim derogation observed in other studies.[49]

i rest my case.

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