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Feature of human nature is denial

  1. May 7, 2003 #1
    It seems to me that key feature of human nature is denial. There are some things that many people just refuse to believe despite all the evidence in the world to back it up.

    This denial appears to be a result of serious percieved incompatibilities between existing beliefs and new information. This new information simply cannot be introduced into the existing worldview without a complete rebuild of the belief system from the ground up. The basis of this feature of the human mind appears to be that of coherency of the self and that without this stubborn refusal to admit and incorporate information in certain circumstances we run the risk of insanity or disorderly and confused behaviour.

    A common, if controversial example - Some people simply cannot believe that evolution is a true account of biological diversity because their idea of evolution and how it relates to their existing view of God are just totally incompatible. Not because belief in evolution and God are necessarily incompatible but because the unconscious mind sees them as incompatible. If the belief in evolution is to become part of the overall world view then the belief in God requires a radical overhaul.

    There are other examples that are obvious to many of us.

    It seems clear that for all our efforts most of these debates will remain unresolved because of the subconcious gatekeeper who veto's rational conclusions to preserve our psychological coherency.

    What do you think?

    NOTE: I used the evolution example not to invite a debate on evolution. I thought it was a reasonably good example, one we are probably all familiar with and especially useful when considering the tactics used in internet debates on the topic.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 4, 2013
  2. jcsd
  3. May 7, 2003 #2
    Re: Denial

    Say it isn't so
    To put a point bluntly, I think that people also have a difficult time admitting that they have been fools...
  4. May 7, 2003 #3
    I have an idea that denial is the result of pride. There is an annoying boy in my language arts and history class and he's always disrespectful, insulting (religious insults, etc.), and always getting into fights. When my teacher tries to get him to do something, he pretends like nothing's the matter and basically denies whatever he did was wrong. He's too proud to admit that he did something wrong.
    Is that it? Pride? Is pride what causes people to be in denial?
  5. May 8, 2003 #4


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    Re: Denial

    Greetings !
    I agree with your discription and
    I agree with your reasons.

    I think, however, that a sufficiently powerful
    mind adapted to openness can deal with this.
    People are just not that smart often, and
    hence, like you said, new stuff may have
    unfortunate consequences for their minds.
    But, if they sport the appropriate philosophical
    perspective that incorporates infinite
    possibilities and lack of absolutes and if they
    are really prepared to and capable of dealing
    with these possibilities then you'll see less
    denial in those people and more curiosity.

    Live long and prosper.
  6. May 8, 2003 #5
    Re: Re: Denial

    I tend to agree. But then the question becomes "why the personality difference"? Why do some people have so much trouble adopting new ideas and others don't? Do they have a more dynamic autobiographical consciousness? Why the difference?

    Peace and long life.
  7. May 8, 2003 #6
    Re: Denial

    I comment just on you notion of belief. I would not say that for evolution to be a true theory, there is any need in believing it.
    I think you need to use an other word, besides belief.
    Belief is not based on knowledge. If one comes from the point of view, in which you go from knowledge, then obviously there is no room for believing. You only belief (in) something, because you have no knowledge which tells you otherwise.
    If you have a strong conviction about the fact that evolution is true, I would not call it a belief, but a conviction.
  8. May 8, 2003 #7


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    Re: Re: Re: Denial

    Greetings Deslaar !
    Well yeah, it probably greatly depends upon
    a person's diversity and purhaps scale of
    experience and probably emotional combinations.
    And, of course, there's that wonderful
    word - genetics, that people often like to
    throw in.
    Hey ! I'm the resident user of Vulcan
    greetings around here !

    Live long and prosper.
  9. May 8, 2003 #8


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    Denial and openness run counter to each other, but somehow, you need both.
  10. May 8, 2003 #9
    I don't need anything! But, how much does denial cost nowadays anyway? Seriously, what people call denial can also be called make-believe, habit, or whatever. Can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em I guess. For me the issue is how to live with denial. If I didn't have denial, I guess it wouldn't be an issue now would it?
  11. May 8, 2003 #10
    Can you give an example?
  12. May 8, 2003 #11
    Re: Denial

    The pendulum swings both ways. In facts it's gone about as far "left" as it's going to go, and has now begun its transition to the right. Indeed there will come a time when all you left brain intellectual types will find yourselves wiping Mr. Egghead from off your face!

    Does anyone wish to deny this?
  13. May 8, 2003 #12
    Re: Re: Denial

    Well, yeah. It's already peaked about fifty years ago and has been swinging back again since then. Whether it will swing back the other way again is anyone's guess.
  14. May 8, 2003 #13
    Well, if it begins to swing back with momemtum from the "current approach," then it becomes the "new momentum" which incorporates the current approach with the previous approach. Meaning it (time) is in the progression of "going forwards," not backwards ... although the pendulum may give the illusion that it does otherwise.
  15. May 10, 2003 #14


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    Greetings !

    btw, that pendulum stuff = complete nonesense.
    Observation is just that, the rest is BS.

    Live long and prosper.
  16. May 10, 2003 #15
    How can you be so sure? And who's denying what? All the pendulum does is define a range of motion. Unfortunately for some of us (or a lot of us?), we get caught up in "the momentum" and keep on going, even though it's begun to slow and change direction.

    Indeed most of the major reasearch has already been accomplished in the field described above, with little left to do "except perhaps" -- as the pendulum begins to shift directions -- go back and re-examine all that we've overlooked (regarding religion) from a "different perspective."
  17. May 10, 2003 #16


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    Openness involves the denial of absolutes.
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