1. You only read/watch what you already agree with.
The books/blogs you read – or videos you watch – fit in with your existing worldview and serve simply to confirm your own prejudices. You deliberately stay away from anything that might challenge you. You start to unfollow people who post things on Twitter and Facebook that you disagree with. This is telling.
When we truly feel comfortable with what we believe, we can happily consider contrasting or conflicting views. If you’re so sure you’re right, then why do you shy away? There’s a chance that you’re strengthening the foundations of a belief that you’ve built upon the sand.
2. “People who disagree with me are stupid!”
Psychologically, when we don’t want to be challenged by something, we need to convince ourselves that it is ridiculous. We need to alienate it and dispose of it. So we start using extreme words like stupid or irrational, which help us distance ourselves from the challenge. This is where terms like Magic Sky Clown and Jewish Zombie come from.
By reducing a worldview ‘ad absurdum’, we don’t need to worry about its potential truth. We wrap ourselves in protective labels.
3. You get angry with those who disagree.
You swear at or shout down people in conversation, or walk away from a discussion. You convince yourself that your anger is righteous because their viewpoint is immoral, but is that really true? Anger is what happens when we don’t feel in control and try to re-exert our own power in a situation. It’s an emotional response, not an intellectual one. It’s a sign that you’re out of your depth, that you don’t know everything.
People sure of what they believe and confident of its truthfulness tend to remain calm in conversation. “I get angry ‘cos they’re stupid!” you might say. See bullet point two…
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