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Mark McCaw ~ twitter's @bigpicguy

Author of "Insights Inside a Mind" ~ blogging the big picture

Monday, 25 April 2011

Ideology V. Fact

     The worst possible fact is that ideology is a fact. The thought that most of the rules and laws we follow are shaped by idealogues on any side is truly a sad testiment to how incredibly lazy humans are. True, we all have things we believe, and things we believe in (rightly so), it is alarming how often we allow others to define our positions on any given issue. More alarming is the increasing importance of ideology in the shaping of messages we rely on to take a "personal" position.

     We' re pretty much roundly guilty of it, even those of us who try hard not to be will sometimes fall victim to an ideological mindset tainting our views, sometimes in the face of overwhelming facts that prove us wrong. Mostly, this is because it's hard to admit something you passionately believed in is untrue. Divorcing oneself from a position can be just as difficult as divorcing a partner.

     Because we are individuals, we will react differently to the realization we have bought a line of total BS. Most of us will be embarrassed, of course, and perhaps a little hurt and disappointed for allowing ourselves to be duped. It's how one reacts to the realization things are not always what they seem that is interesting. Some will refuse to believe fact, even overwhelming fact, and become the worst kind of idealogue, taking on a rigid position and attacking anyone or anything that is contrary. Coming in a close second are "rebound idealogues", who, once they've discovered truth is something you have to search for, decide it is just easier to choose an ideology, different from the previous one, because that one hasn't let them down yet. Last, and sadly, fewest, are the idealouges who realize that every thought, every position, every idea comes from someone's special interest, and, it is best to at least do some research into things before coming to a definitive position.

     Ideology will always shape thought and society, even among the brightest and most fair of individuals, it is difficult to divide your personal values from what is right for others. There will be times when most of the facts will go against something you so deeply believe in you can, in no way, find justification to change your personal position. This is forgivable, we are all human.

     I do applaud people who will stand on the courage of their convictions, those who are very open about where they stand. Fair warning, when you do speak up, you should always be prepared to back up your position with something more than rhetoric, name calling and the like. One should also be prepared to stand corrected.

     Society is a better place when we use the resources we have to educate ourselves and engage one another in constructive discussions. Don't just tell me I'm wrong, tell me why I am wrong (without stupid insults thanks) and we can engage in discussion. If we are both willing to admit when we're wrong, or at least work of finding common ground, the world will be better for it.

     In search of the bigger picture...


  1. Good post! I very much like this kind of exploration. I've been thinking about this sort of thing in light of the election and my recent use of Twitter. Twitter seems to reveal very quickly our shared willingness to cut corners with communication in order to affirm our own ideas or to challenge the ideas of others with whom we disagree. Tweets without links are really just soundbites. It's a soundbite culture!

    But I think perhaps you were too quick in your characterization of the worst kind of ideologue. I think that many of these folks actually believe their "facts are wrong." But they profess x, in order to reach goal z. They know that x is not the case. But's a strategy to claim that x is the case. It's strategic communication, which is probably just a fancy way of saying it's a lie.

  2. As a side note, I find this user interface for this commenting process kind of crusty. - Sherwin Arnott