Wired for Ideology

Nuanced points of view go against our nature
August 18, 2021

Nuance is Hard Work

Michael Ashcroft has a neat topic for his first essay in The Writing Studio 3. It's about how we're all biologically wired to lean towards pre-packaged ideologies. The need for community, comfort, and a stable identity make it hard for us to dive into nuance. It requires us to accept isolation, suspend disbelief, delay resolution, and consistently re-cast our ego. Basically - it's work.

Conspiracy Theory Weight Lifting

This is why I think it's valuable to dive into conspiracy theories. It's like a brain stretch. You have to hold onto many potential versions of reality, without prematurely (or ever) closing in on one. BUT - if you don't have this mindset, and your looking to find community, closure, and identity, then that's how you end up in Bill Gates micro-chip territory.

Cherry Picked Christianity

I approach religion with this same level of nuance. I hold much respect for Christianity, but don't think the historical truth of the resurrection is required to hold the whole thing together. All of the symbols could equally work in a Jungian model, or in a psychedelic ritual. Obviously I can't share this view, because it sounds like heretical non-sense. I'd argue that there's value in constructing your own world views ("maps of meaning.") By doing the proofs yourself, you sharpen your own lenses, are open to new experiences and models, and, even if "belief" is feeble, at least some sweat went into it.