Self Indoctrination

What we read and hear shape what we believe and how we think. If we only read Marxist literature, would we not be Marxist? If we only read Protestant authors, would we not be Protestant? But what we believe shapes what we read. We read what we think we will like, and we like things that confirm what we already believe. Similarly, we tend to associate with people who will agree with us. It is a vicious cycle, always validating our conceptions of how the world does and ought to work. But occasionally, our beliefs are wrong. How can we then combat the propaganda we feed ourselves? How can we break the cycle?

There are two ways. Either we read nothing, trust no one’s opinion but our own, and become an existential hermit, or we read everything and consider everyone’s opinion. Both would break us free from the world of ideas we build for ourselves, but only one allows for community and collaboration. Even more importantly, only one is humble.

The funny thing is, nowadays this is obvious. Everybody says to listen to both sides. But who actually puts it into practice?

A final thought. I’m not at all saying that conclusions are bad or that Protestants have a small view of the world. I do, however, wonder at people who cannot respectfully talk with disagreement, or are unaware that it even exists. These are not the people I want to follow.

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