The Power of Us - Deepstash
The Power of Us

The Power of Us

Jay J. Van Bavel, Dominic J. Packer

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Why do we cling to belief?

Sometimes people like to believe in their beliefs however absurd it sounds and however contradictory the facts and evidence are to their beliefs. And these absurd beliefs range from the U.S. presidency to coronavirus, from mars colonization to time travel, and many more.

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What motivates such stubborn beliefs

Let's take a look at the work of social psychologist Leon Festinger.

In the 1950s, Festinger joined a cult known as the "Seekers"

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Who are these "Seekers"?

Seekers were a group of people in the 1950s who were believed to have been warned by the aliens that a massive flood would swap the western seaboard of the U.S. on December 21, 1954. They published this prophecy in the local newspaper. And Festinger wanted to inspect what this cult actually was, but more than that, Festinger wanted to know what happens when the day arrives and this prophecy comes to a final end(whether it goes true or fails).

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The decisive day: December 21, 1954

The prophecy turned out to be a huge failure. Nothing happened to the western coast that day.

To this, the members of the cult should have abandoned the cult, right?

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But Why?

This question arises for sure.

This is because when their beliefs were put to an extreme end, the Seekers went through a mental phase called Cognitive Dissonance. This put them in a grave situation and to reduce this discomfort, they could respond in one of two ways: whether they have to accept the change or try to defend it even after witnessing all the evidence.

To defend this belief, they broadcasted that the faith of the world grew too strong that god saved them from the apocalypse.

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What factors lead us to cling to our beliefs

There are two reasons:

1) we cling to beliefs that resonate with our sense of "self".

2) we cling to beliefs that resonate with our social groups.

One of the reasons was the cult member's personality resonated with the personality of the Seekers. And the second reason being the group of Seekers altogether had this unbreakable belief in their idea.

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A sense of belonging

It is easy when our trust is broken. We see the truth from a bird-view, but when our idea resonates with the group, it becomes much harder to break the chain of beliefs and see the reality.

This is because our group gives us a sense of belonging.

This idea is taken from the book 'The power of Us' written by Jay Van Bavel and Dominic Packer.

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CURATED BY

het_8802

Seeker of good times

These ideas provide us with a lot of information about human psychology.

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