Originally posted by rwingett
It's amazing how he managed to take every bit of evidence he came across and incorporate it into his world view...
How was it possible for 2nd Lt. Hiroo Onada to convince himself that WWII was still going on until 1974 when he finally surrendered? For 29 years he lived in the jungles of Lubang Island, in the Philippines, and dismissed every attempt to convince him that the war was over as being a ruse. It's amazing how he managed to take every bit of evidence he came ac ...[text shortened]... at doesn't fit into their preconceived world view. People's beliefs are not always rational.
I think that’s the key. As children we all imbibe a certain worldview. Some people never are able to question it, because the terms of that worldview are what they use to pose questions. Some people challenge that worldview, only to convert to another one which then becomes, to them, beyond question.
The difficulty is in turning the questioning mind upon such worldviews themselves. Nietzsche’s answer to the problem was that one ought to adopt as many worldviews—as many perspectives—as possible, and follow them through intellectually as far as one could.
The only “worldview” that we are born with is the framework of the grammar of our own consciousness. Every other adopted worldview is an adopted perspective: imposed or chosen “rules of grammar”. Every other worldview that I adopt—in the past, now, or in the future—is no more than a chosen view. And my ability to interpret the facts are limited by whatever worldview I adopt.
The problem probably requires constant vigilance. But the trick is to remember that a given worldview is only a map: the territory is the territory—and when they do not match, it is not the territory that needs to be adjusted to fit the map. That is illusion. We are adept mapmakers, and it can be done—but it is still illusion.
You have repeated on here, ad nauseum, that we are all born a-theists. I have repeated one here, ad nauseum, that reality—and our existential place in and of it—precedes everything that we think about it. The territory precedes the map.
I do sometimes think that our attachment to our maps has the character of post-hypnotic suggestion, whether that suggestion is planted by others or by ourselves (self-hypnotically). The good lieutenant was, perhaps, psychologically incapable of adjusting his map. If one realizes that one is operating under a kind of hypnotic suggestion, that does not necessarily break the spell. (One can, for example, go into denial.) Basically, one needs to break the spell—over and over and over again—by deliberately adjusting oneself to the territory. And one needs also to be vigilant about not becoming hypnotically attached to any new maps that one makes along the way.
Until one can wander in the territory—even get lost in it—without any maps at all. Barring that, one can at least take something of an ironical view of whatever maps they are still using...