Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Addendum to "Why Do We Believe What We Believe?

"Much of what we do as adults is based on this imitative absorption during our childhood years. Frequently we imagine that we are behaving in a particular way because such behaviour accords with some abstract, lofty code of moral principles, when in reality all we are doing is obeying a deeply ingrained and long 'forgotten' set of purely imitative impressions. It is the unmodifiable obedience to these impressions (along with our carefully concealed instinctive urges) that makes it so hard for societies to change their customs and their 'beliefs' Even when faced with exciting, brilliantly rational new ideas, based on the application of pure, objective intelligence, the community will still cling to its old home-based habits and prejudices. This is the cross we have to bear if we are going to sail through our vital juvenile 'blotting-paper' phase of rapidly mopping up the accumulated experiences of previous generations. We are forced to take the biased opinions along with the valuable facts."
--Desmond Morris: The Naked Ape; McGraw-Hill: New York, 1967

My response to the quote: So the unfortunate by-product of the process of absorbing essential knowledge in our youth is that we imbibe the attitudes and prejudices of those in our environment (especially our parents) This would mean that to meet the ideal of objectivity (freedom from bias), we would then be stupid and helpless...Another dilemma of being human.

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