Each of us has a set of beliefs we deem untouchable. When someone disagrees with one of these ideas, we disregard everything else they have to say - whether or not their other points are valid or clever.
It’s as if these untouchable beliefs are used for signalling purposes - I am part of “___” tribe. If violated, we know that we are talking with someone from a different group with fundamentally different assumptions about the world. This either means that communication with them is not possible, since we don’t have the same worldview and symbol system. Or, it means that we do not respect them, since they are not part of the “tribe”.
Extremely serious mistakes about the nature of the solar system didn’t matter too much until interplanetary travel became a possibility. Extremely serious mistakes about brain “transmitters” and “receptors” didn’t matter too much until the drug industry got involved.
New technology is a kind of Faustian bargain. It always gives us something, but it always takes away something important. That’s true of the alphabet, and the printing press, and telegraph, right up through the computer.
For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.
In this culture, what we desperately need is a recognition of the complexity of life, and of the political-ecological situation we find ourselves in. Any thinking which isn’t “system thinking” should be treated with caution, and most contemporary thinking about health neglects to consider relevant parts of the problem-system. “Official” recommendations about salt, cholesterol, iron, unsaturated and saturated fats, and soybeans have generally been inappropriate, unscientific, and strongly motivated by business interests rather than by biological knowledge.
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