My daddy strongest and some other half-truths we still believe

My daddy strongest and some other half-truths we still believe

We deliberately sidestep reality, hoodwink facts and reject fact-checking.



By Vicky Kapur (From the Executive Editor's desk)

Published: Tue 17 Dec 2019, 7:40 PM

My dad can lift a car with one hand," I heard a tiny little fellow tell another similar-sized person the other day. She wasn't impressed, though. "Mine can lift a plane." It's the one belief most kids grow up with. That their father, irrespective of his shape or size, is the strongest dad among their friends' or friends' friends. No questions asked. As we grow up, though, we're exposed to that spoilsport called reality which, at some point, introduces us to the twin killjoys known as logic and rationale. That's when we, grudgingly, start acknowledging the truth about tooth fairy and Santa and birthday wishes and zombies. 
But some beliefs belie logic. Our dads, for instance, continue to be the strongest in our minds never mind Martin Licis (the guy who won the 2019 title of the World's Strongest Man). We deliberately sidestep reality, hoodwink facts and reject fact-checking. It's like we've got some sort of blinkers on and there is no power that can make us see the truth. Some of those things are far more dangerous than the harmless white lies we believed in as kids. There are people who continue to trump up weird arguments for ignoring the stark climate change warnings while others still think that cancer is contagious.
Psychologists who've studied human behaviour in some depth say it's easier for us to accept a piece of information than reject it. Especially if it conforms to our pre-existing notions about politics, religion or society. Misinformation - in the form of alternative facts, post-truths and selective reality - is far easier to digest when it is shared by someone like ourselves or some we like. So voters in the US or India or elsewhere, for that matter, will obstinately stick with the policies of the party or personality they've voted to power even if there are obvious flaws in the policy.
Obstinacy and obedience, in some cases, go together. Of course, we need to take the blinkers off at some stage but that's easier said than done. As for the dads lifting cars and planes with one hand, I didn't hear them say it was a real car or plane. Maybe they were toy cars and planes.
 


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