How to Eliminate Convictions? (pt 8)

How can we remove our convictions? The truth is that this is a hard process. In “ Human, All Too Human”, Nietzche laments that “Man is very well defended against himself, against being reconnoitred and besieged by himself, he is usually able to perceive of himself only his outer walls. The actual fortress is inaccessible, even invisible to him, unless his friends and enemies play the traitor and conduct him in by a secret path.” He aptly describes the phenomenon present in humans which results in an inability to critique oneself despite overwhelming evidence. During the Iraq war the Secretary of Defence, one Donald Rumsfield, was convinced the war could be won using top-down bureaucracy and strategic calculations. He was possessed by his strong convictions, refusing to accept his own obvious erroneous misjudgements. He refused to listen to his subordinates on the ground, preferring to silence or sideline them; his stubborn childishness lost countless lives and strategic footholds. Rumsfield couldn’t see his shortcomings, choosing only to see the outer walls of his impregnable castle. But instead of listening to the wisdom of others, he decided to block them out, and this is where he made his mistake. In the quest to abolish convictions you must be able to take in new disconfirming evidence, from others whom can show you the secret path through your defences of consistency and ego.

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