People don’t want to understand, people want to feel they are right.
Disagreeing online has become a dangerous thing to do, the internalization of beliefs and the fanatization of those who hold said beliefs puts an end to rationality and opens the door for visceral discussions.
“Attacking my beliefs is attacking me, as I am what I think”
When a person disagrees with the notion a group holds dear, the usual reaction includes personal disqualifications, personal attacks, public mocking and exposure of personal information to shame that who dared to have a different opinion.
This happens because when a person feels the support of a group in which he or she is part of the majority, what the majority believes is taken as the truth.
If you were to go to an online group or forum dedicated to a certain topic, whether it is politics, conspiracy ideas, social movements, even fan clubs, and said “I’m not X”, sooner or later the conversation would devolve into an insult fest, in the case that the post is not deleted from the site and the user banned before the mob notices the one that is different.
I’d like to attach this behavior to those who I disagree with, but I’ve seen this kind of irrational and tribalistic behavior occurring within certain circles I’m part of, ending up forming eco-chambers where differing opinions and cognitive growth go to die.
“Understanding why the other person thinks he is right is more important than being right oneself”
Maslow constructed his model based on how people behave and what they need to do in order to achieve self-realization, forming part of a group and feeling one belongs is one of the most important factors in the process of achieving self-realization.
I’m mentioning this part because peer-pressure and the desire to belong to something bigger than ourselves is usually the reason why we, as humans, tend to behave in certain waves that include attacking those who are different, those who disagree, those who don’t have opinions and beliefs like ours.
Are we really far from our cousins the chimps or are we still following our instincts in order to survive while we keep self deluding ourselves into thinking we are “the rational ones”?