21 Oct 2023

Research shows that facts don’t change beliefs.

I have fought against beliefs that don’t make sense to me since I was a little girl. The responses to my different opinions have often been painful. As a  Jewish child I had rocks thrown at me by the neighborhood Catholic children for asking, “Doesn’t your God say to love others, and treat others as you would have them treat you?”   I’ve banned from a dance company for breastfeeding my toddler at practice,  asked to leave a therapy group, and canceled from a professional group.

Facts do not cause change, because people have a belief system (no matter who), and if your facts do not align with that belief system, you’ll have no impact on them whatsoever. Many follow these beliefs blindly without doing much investigation into what they believe.”  (Quora 2022)
I have known about the beliefs versus facts battle for years. At the same time,  I did not act in accordance with the facts, I have believed that if people will just listen, and see all of the evidence that I can show them, then we can meet on the level ground of open discussion. Never mind that this has no evidence to support it. Never mind that it has never worked.


I see this in myself even today, right now, when I am doing laundry. I know, from podcasts and other sources, that cold water will wash laundry as well as hot water. I want to use cold water to reduce my carbon footprint. Yet I have always to fight the impulse to use hot water because that feels like the best way to clean clothes. My laundry always comes out clean and sweet smelling in cold water. The evidence of my own eyes isn’t enough to dispel the belief about using hot water. I chose to ignore my belief every time I push the COLD button on my washing machine.

Feeling right feels essential to my survival.  I have died many small deaths in this battle. Why have I never learned? Where does this characteristic come from? From my 17 generations of trauma history? From growing up with two parents with PTSD? From being the only Jewish family in a  Catholic neighborhood? Or simply by being human?

People will kill themselves for beliefs, and use the deaths of babies, families and friends to dig in  deeper to a belief or an idea that they hold.  Belief is a powerful force.

And a scary one.

How can we humans aspire to change when we are caught in the prison of our beliefs?

Rumi paints a  hopeful picture in his poem: Out Beyond Ideas of Wrongdoing and Rightdoing

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
There is a field. I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass,
The world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase each other
Doesn’t make any sense.




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