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The death of critical thinking - Why are we so manipulable?

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Charismatic leaders manipulate us with beautiful words .. Can it be avoided?
Voces Layetanas
José A. Ruiz 01/04/2019 2292

What's happening to us?

The world seems to face a major setback in the critical thinking of the masses. The scream always seems stronger than the dialogue and the fist more powerful than the outstretched hand. Throughout the world, millions of intelligent people become uncritical flocks willing to let themselves be carried away by such simplistic ideals that they would embarrass a child, blinded by an easily manipulated emotion. This article does not intend to perform a rigorous analysis, nor bring any answer, but to propose different scenarios, concepts and questions that may be related between them.
Leadership egotism
We can't deny it. Many world leaders, and especially the most powerful, are great egomaniacs with dangerous attitudes and a mental equilibrium that is questionable, at least. Donald Trump, Kim Jong Un, Vladimir Putin, Nicolás Maduro, Recep Erdogan ... are opposite examples to common sense and reasoning, in contrast with other more temperate and reasonable leaders like Angela Merkel, or Emmanuel Macron. That wariness, that selfishness and that lack of scruples is so palpable that one wonders how they can attract so many people.
Emotivity versus reasoning
Governing is difficult. That's what everyone who has tried it knows. Difficult to do, frustrating, and above all, difficult and boring to explain to an audience that is accustomed to having everything well explained, quickly and briefly. Therefore, the simplistic slogans "Together for the Yes", "Brexit means Brexit", "Let's make America great again", "Spain steals from us", raise basic emotions intended to provoke euphoria, catharsis or wrath ... emotions that replaces the government agenda in the minds of innumerable voters that consider themselves reasonable.
The decline of managers
It's not the cause, but the excuse. Good politicians are good managers, but when managers take time to manage the logistics of a country, they often use it for their own purposes. When that weakness comes to light, the populisms of brief rhetoric and inflamed feelings have something to cling to to criticize, not the weakness of the system, but the system itself. Corruption in democracy can be used by careerists to deny democracy itself.
The gradual radicalization
The germ of destruction can be planted from a very reasonable claim, although not always true (the fiscal scales, an inequality before the law) when what is intended is a division for much less reasonable reasons (race, language, religion). That initial claim can be assumed from the reason, while the emotion behind it is transmitted to those who join. After a slow, steady, gradual bombardment, the emotions (of pride, alienation and resentment) are what remain, and the reasonable and peaceful disagreement of the beginning is now a furious and convinced fundamentalist.
The act of faith
Most people are not capable of constantly questioning the bases of our ideology. That's a defect inherent in the human being. As young people we can easily be convinced of something and the opposite, but when an ideology acquires the quality of dogma, when we internalize it and live according to it, we stop questioning it. At all levels, that ideology uses in our mind the same mechanisms as religion, and is equally unquestionable.
The difficulty of rectifying
And not only difficulty, but in many cases impossibility. Once a logical, reasonable and conscious person assumes an ideology as a dogma of faith, he is blind to any evidence that denies it. The arguments (certain or false) were basic to form their faith, but now it is the faith that strives to create arguments to reject what the convinced sees, what the convinced hears, and even what he feels. Not to suffer, not to admit the truth that maybe he has made a mistake, and has wasted part of his life and energy in the wrong way.
Finally
The ramifications of these quickly written ideas are many, and the possible solutions exceed the purpose of this article, but many of these factors are hidden, to a greater or lesser extent, behind many furious struggles that drag masses led by unconscious leaders. There are populisms of the far left, of the far right nationalisms (disguised, perhaps, as far left). Machist or feminist fundamentalism (equality of the sexes is a noble cause, but its members are as manipulable as the rest). From the regime of Maduro to Hitler, from Franco to Mussolini, from Milosevic to Puigdemont, there have always been and will be nationalist movements, and always people who believe that salvation is behind them.
What has been done about critical thinking?


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