Pi Attitude Zone: Conformity & Stability

Beyond Belief

It’s a matter of faith.  We humans seem strangely incapable of perceiving the dividing lines between what we know and what we believe.

A good example of this is the interesting fact that 60-70% of adult Americans profess to believe in the literal truth of Bible stories like the Creation and Noah’s Flood. Indeed, a Gallup survey has reported 31% saying the Bible is “the actual word of God”.

Yet when Gallup fielded questions about the Good Book’s contents, half of respondents were unable to name its first book as Genesis; two-thirds did not know who gave the Sermon on the Mount (many people thought it was Billy Graham), and 60% failed to name even half of the Ten Commandments. An endearing 12% were convinced that Noah was married to Joan of Arc.

What we know and what we believe, it seems, can be two different things.  Pi has to ask:  do we humans really want to know the truth at all?

The way the majority of us vote in elections implies, for instance, that we believe saving jobs is more important than industrial productivity and the prosperity it creates. The silliness of this point-of-view was pointed out by a story in The Economist’s Lexington column. An economist inspects a dam-building project, and sees hundreds of workers with shovels. “Why not use a mechanical digger?” he asks.  They tell him that this would put people out of work.  “Why didn’t you say so?” he asks.  “If it’s more jobs you want, you should take away the shovels and give them spoons”.

It makes perfect sense, doesn’t it? Yet politicians figured out long ago that “job-protecting” xenophobia and protectionism mobilize more voters than real economic stimulus and fiscal common sense, however much better off those policies would make us.

A political candidate’s main aim, after all, is to gain and keep power, not to fix things.

Pi says:  our beliefs make us just as irrational when choosing our leaders, it seems, as when we are pondering eternal truths.

Zone: Conformity & Stability Country: USA / North America Product –