We don’t want truth. We want the world to be the place we imagine it to be. We are fighting to make reality, bend it to the curve of our character — not discover it and pour our personalities down its pre-laid pipes.
Sometimes we’re wrong. Yet even in the face of evidence indicating our mistakes, we’ll hold to what we believe. Dislodging oneself from our psychological infrastructure takes a lot more than facts. In fact, facts presented in the idealistic manner of journalists today — objective, neutral and unbiased (Jay Rosen calls it the view from nowhere) — make us cling to our customized buoys of belief more tightly, says Cass Sunstein.
But there’s hope. People can change. You just need to get the right people to change them. People who are like them, Sunstein says. If someone you identify with says pigs are indeed flying, then you might reconsider wings and bacon.
That begs the question: Who starts this ball rolling? At some point, someone has got to lead the way against her own beliefs. That takes a lot more than facts. It takes faith, hope, fearlessness.