Why It’s So Hard to Break Through Our Staunch Beliefs

Source: http://www.sonima.com/meditation/mindful-living/different-viewpoints/

The late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia once said, “I attack ideas. I don’t attack people, and some very good people have some very bad ideas…” Though this seems like a particularly rational approach for a judge to have, it is one that often gets lost on the average person. Once a belief is held closely, whether in regards to an election cycle, a family decision, or individual religious affiliations, there is a real temptation to lose perspective. We decide we’re right, and sometimes we decide those who oppose us are bad. Our cultural climate supports this by providing us with no shortage of information that supports our worldview. A Trump supporter never has to learn about the humanity of a Clinton supporter. A Sanders supporter never has to really understand the depth and intensity of those that would like to see Cruz elected. While sharing ideas and cultivating empathy seem like the only way for us to evolve in our families, in our societies, and in our own hearts, many of us are never truly called to do so.

But don’t feel too terribly; the science isn’t exactly in our favor.

According to a study published in the journal Annals of Neurology, researchers Sam Harris, Mark Cohen, PhD, and Sameer Seth, MD, studied how the brain processes belief, disbelief, and uncertainty. Their study, “Functional Imaging of Neural Responses to Expectancy and Experience of Monetary and Losses,” used an MRI machine to…

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