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Quote

One of the most constant characteristics of beliefs is their intolerance. The stronger the belief, the greater its intolerance. Men dominated by a certitude cannot tolerate those who do not accept it.
Gustave Le Bon Opinions And Beliefs
Do you believe it? My opinion is that this may be true.

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ethicalhedonist
Sep. 18th, 2005 03:05 pm (UTC)
There are people who are absolutely convinced of their own rightness. They are so convinced, in fact, that if, at the conclusion of a discussion, you still disagree with them, they are convinced that you did not understand them, or you would, of course, agree.

This mindset is not limited to religious zealots, or the 'easily lead'. The person who illustrated the most negative aspects of certitude to me was a friend from mine who is a theoretical physisict in Bern. Go figure.

We had many a disagreement over the years. It took me a while to get him to stop talking down to me because I was a woman. My ex and he used to get into long, drawn-out arguments--two highly intelligent, Jesuit-trained minds clashing--and while David would agree to disagree, Christian would not. The best thing about Christian was when David and I would argue and he would step into that 'certitude' mode, I would tell him "Yes, Christian, whatever you say, Christian, of course you are right as always, Christian" and he would stop and reevaluate his position in the discussion.

As soon as someone puts enough conviction into a Truth to BELIEVE it, he closes himself off to other Truths. He stops asking, seeking, questing. He becomes complacent and lazy. in fact, I think that the power of belief or faith is not that you can can move mountains, but that you are so convinced you CAN, that it becomes unnecessary to try to do it yourself.