The downside to the fact that we are cognitive animals that reason via analogous narratives: Andrew Pollack: A Brilliant Concept—Compulsive Narrative Syndrome: "I first came across this brilliant concept in Joel Shepherd’s 23 Years on Fire.... Here are Shepherd's characters explaining CNS—tell me this doesn't ring a bell...

...The human brain is trained to look for and identify patterns, but in abstract concepts, fixed and unarguable facts are hard to find. So the brain looks for narratives instead, stories that can tie together various ideas and facts in a way that seems to make sense, to make a pattern. And the human brain, always seeking a pattern as a basic cognitive function, will latch onto a narrative pattern compulsively, and use that pattern as a framework within which to store new information, like a tradesman honing his skill, or someone learning a new language.

That’s why religions tell such great stories, the story makes a pattern within which everything makes sense. A synchronicity of apparent facts. Political ideologies, too. Humans are suckers for a great story because we can’t resist the logical pattern it contains."

“When you’re learning a new skill, discarding irrelevant information and organizing the relevant stuff within that framework is good. But in ideologies, it means any information that doesn’t fit the ideological narrative is literally discarded, and won’t be remembered... which is why you can argue facts with ideologues and they’ll just ignore you. They’re not just being stubborn, their brains are literally structurally incapable of processing what they perceive as pattern-anomalous data. That’s why some ideologues get so upset when you offer facts that don’t match their pattern, it’s like you’re assaulting them.

So what Compulsive Narrative Syndrome really says is that being a one-eyed partisan isn’t just a matter of taste or values, it’s actually a cognitive, neurological condition that we all suffer from to some degree. And it explains why some people’s ideologies can change, because sometimes a new pattern is identified that overrides the old one. And it explains why the most intelligent people are often the most partisan and least objective, because pattern recognition is a function of higher intelligence. If you want an objective opinion, ask a stupid person...


#shouldread
#books

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