I am a woman born 1949 and my quest is to find a mindmate
to grow old together as a mutually devoted couple
in a relationship based upon the
egalitarian rational commitment paradigm
bonded by intrinsic commitment
as each other's safe haven and secure basis.

The purpose of this blog is to enable the right man
to recognize us as reciprocal mindmates and
to encourage him to contact me:

The entries directly concerning,
who could be my mindmate,
are mainly at the beginning.
If this is your predominant interest,
I suggest to read this blog in the same order
as it was written, following the numbers.

I am German, therefore my English is sometimes faulty.

Maybe you have stumbled upon this blog not as a potential match.
Please wait a short moment before zapping.

Do you know anybody, who could be my mindmate?
Your neighbour, brother, uncle, cousin, colleague, friend?
If so, please tell him to look at this blog.
While you have no reason to do this for me,
a stranger, maybe you can make someone happy, for whom you care.

Do you have your own webpage or blog,
which someone like my mindmate to be found probably reads?
If so, please mention my quest and add a link to this blog.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

345. Gullibility and the Choice of a Belief

Gullibility and the Choice of a Belief

As already mentioned in entry 344, belief serves to convert something worthless into a pseudo-remedy for troubles, and it often replaces or impedes any real improvement, sometimes the trouble even gets worse.
A gullible's belief is another person's claim taken as true without doubt.    In this context, it makes no difference, if the belief is in the existence of an entity or in a contingency.   It also makes not difference, if it contradicts science, has never been scientifically evaluated or just cannot be proven or disproved.  

Gullible people choose their preferred belief depending on the kind of trouble and their personality.   The following are a few combinations of a belief chosen to fit a need.  

1.  Begging or buying help from imaginary beings

The gullibles in this group feel helpless to solve their problem.  They choose a powerful deity, whom they believe to be able to be the life stuntman or proxy to solve their problems for them.  They believe, that while the deity is able to supply the fulfillment of all needs, he only does this after being explicitly motivated to do so.  
  • Those who believe, that an appeal is sufficient to bring the trouble to the attention of a deity,  just waste their time in prayers.  
  • Others believe, that it is not enough to simply bring the trouble to the attention of a powerful deity.   They hope to get better results by bribing the deity.   This can be as simple as buying candles or paying money to some full time intermediate pastor to pray on their behalf.     
  • Another approach to more fierce and unfriendly deities is earning favors by undergoing hardships of any kind.   Fasting or even sacrificing a close relative are examples.    Gullibles of this kind jump deliberately from the frying pan into the fire.   To get relief from one pain, they deliberately inflict another pain upon themselves, in the end they have added more pain to the previous.
The same methods as above for existing trouble can also be used for prevention and sometimes the effects are paradoxical.  Someone feeling protected by a deity is prone to recklessness and risky behavior.    Soldiers sometimes are encouraged by the religious benediction of weapons.

2.  Buying help from crooks and delusionals

The more pragmatic gullibles buy quackeries from real people.   They want an easy way out.  They hand over the money and then it is the quack's job to remove their emotional or physical ailments or prevent them.  
The skeptic's dictionary ( ) and quackwatch ( ) have long lists of such quackeries.    Homeopathy, aromatherapy, Bach's flowers, magnet therapy, therapeutic touch, faith healing, feng shui are just a few examples.   There is a quackery for every imaginable discomfort.

There are three kinds of quacks.  
  • The crooks, who know, that what they sell is fake and a fraud.
  • The over altruistic gullibles, who believe to help others by selling the quackery, in which they believe themselves.    
  • The delusionals, who are not only gullible to claims from others but create the claims by believing in their own ability to heal or help.        

3.  Buying information from crooks and gurus

The curious gullibles and those, for whom uncertainty and ignorance are difficult to bear buy bogus informations from crooks and gurus.  Bogus information can relief anxieties.  Here again, there are the crooks aware of frauding, the over altruistic gurus, who believe so much in their methods, that they want to share the source of their bogus information, and the delusional gurus, who believe to have gained special competency in a specific method.  
Again, there is a long list.  Graphology, astrology, numerology, biorhythm are examples of bogus psycho diagnostics for the wish to gain better knowledge about oneself and others, while clairvoyance, dowsing, ESP are a bogus access to unobtainable information.  

4.  Justification instead of changing

Some gullible people choose a belief system, when they feel bad, insufficient, a failure, in cognitive dissonance.   Something in themselves is in discord with their previous belief or that of their social environment.   Instead of changing themselves, they choose a new belief, which justifies their weakness, selfishness, irresponsibility and other behavior, that they experience as unwanted.  If it does not really justify their behavior and attitudes, it does at least so in their interpretation and perception.  The newly chosen belief makes them feel better about themselves. 
  • A male cheater can convert to islam, where cheating does not exist, because the coran allows him not only 4 wives, but an unspecified number of concubines.   
  • In entry 56 I already outlined, how zen-buddhism focuses on the present and can serve as an excuse to refuse responsibility for past transgressions.  
  • Someone having damaged another chooses a religion, in which it is the deity's job to forgive sins by application.   When believing to have acquired the forgiveness of the deity, then he never makes amends to the victim of his transgression.
4.  Buying power by direct or indirect methods

The gullibles, whose main trouble is their lack of social success, buy methods from crooks and gurus to enable them to gain power over people.   
  • Voodoo and witchcraft are paid for as the delegation of the use of their power on one's behalf. 
  • Others want to gain power themselves.   NLP is an example.  In entry 177, I described, how jerks are attracted to NLP, because they believe to gain seductive power over women by applying NLP.
5.  Acquiring power by climbing up in a hierarchy

Cults are an especially interesting phenomenon, because of the hierarchy principle.    Gullibles enter at a low position of the hierarchy having two believes:  
  • One or several masters or gurus at the top have some attractive special powers, knowledge or skills.
  • By investing enough money and effort, they can become like the masters and acquire the same powers.  

Another example is the Chinese cult around the chi belief.  It includes martial art, which is some weird mixture of gymnastics and fighting techniques, not based on physical strength but on mental overpowering.   This has some interesting effects. 
  • Those at the bottom of the hierarchy overestimate the power and ability of those above, because the more attractive the goal of becoming like them, the more they feel justified in their attempts to climb the hierarchy even at a high cost.  
  • They react to the overestimated and alleged powers as if they were real.
  • The masters get the wrong feedback and overestimate their own power.  
There is an interesting video on 
It shows, how the combined belief of a disciple and a master result in a weird double delusion, called the "no punch knockout".   It looks impressive, how one guy falls backwards, stiff like a board, doomed to hurting himself if not caught by others standing behind him.   He falls, just because another puts his hand close to his face.  
Then the video shows, how the master fails completely, as soon as he tries the same procedure with a skeptic, who stays unmovably rooted to the spot in spite of the master's efforts.  
The first presentation was enabled by a disciple believing in it to fall, and a master believing in it, else he would not have dared to do this in front of a camera.     
I wonder, how many of those martial arts masters have been beaten up by criminals, while they felt invincible.