Groupthink vs. Individual Ignorance

29 April 2019 | Modern human being is able to access to more information. Thus, they may be easy to make a mistake: considering themselves much more intelligent than their ancients. It is noteworthy to remember Albert Einstein’s quote “Information is not knowledge.”

The fact is, today human depends much more on knowledge of the others. Most of our views today are sharped by communal groupthink rather than individual rationality, and we hold on to these views out of group loyalty.  Bombarding people with facts and exposing their individual ignorance is likely to backfire. Most people don’t like too many facts, and they certainly don’t like to feel stupid. People rarely appreciate their ignorance, because they lock themselves inside an echo chamber of like-minded friends and self-confirming newsfeeds, where their beliefs are constantly reinforced and seldom challenged.

A typical example is extremist groups. The extremists believe when they die as suicide bombers they will go to heaven. If going-to-be suicide bombers are killed their fellows also believe that the killed will go to heaven because they have committed to die for their belief. Then the remaining fellows call for revenge attacks on anti-terrorism societies. Some things are wrong here. If the counter-terrorism forces send terrorists to heaven why the surviving terrorists should revenge.


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