Why do people share beliefs? - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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#15167047
What is obtained by expressing a viewpoint?
I know the answers to this question might be obvious and potentially wide-ranging, but if you'll please indulge me, I'd like to hear your thoughts on the matter nonetheless.
#15168019
I realize that my OP is a little sparse, so I will be a little more specific here;

In the days of yore beliefs were dogmatically dictated by leading institutions, and to go against these beliefs was not just a matter of eccentricity, it was a dangerous habit. One would have preferred to not share their actual beliefs(if they had any), but rather to acquiesce to the structuralized belief systems present around them.
With the advent of modern technologies, it has become an entire new paradigm, where the individual is free to construct their identity based upon the beliefs that they cherish (why do we define ourselves by our beliefs anyways?). With the decline of verbal social communication, textual interface has become a realm of endless exploration. Algorithms have been created to even exaggerate these belief systems (so that one can ask, are these beliefs the legitimate construct of the individual's speculative efforts, or are they still being crafted, to an extent, by leading institutions? also; through marketing efforts to keep the individual entrenched in the product, they are providing free advertising for ideologies/etc.)
People have succumb to an internet tribalism, and they, like many tribes are proud and emboldened to raise their voices for the benefits of their tribe. They potentially view those as against their tribe as dangerous... is the internet a primitive landscape?
What I am wondering about is whether or not this desire to express a belief and be socially accepted for it has always been present within the human psyche or is it a result of new mediums of communication; has it always been there, but it was unable to so freely exhibit itself?
And if the new mode of expression is now without the constraints of repercussion through ostracization/excommunication, is there a way for the ones who have the urge to "share their beliefs" do so in a manner that treats divergent opinion with equitability? if belief sharing is done so with the need to find approval for belief, is there a way to teach future generations in this landscape that there are ways to accept the differences of others, and that belief ought not be towards confirming the self in a community, but rather to simply understand the self and where and how it relates to other members of the community?
#15168026
froggo wrote:I realize that my OP is a little sparse, so I will be a little more specific here;

In the days of yore beliefs were dogmatically dictated by leading institutions, and to go against these beliefs was not just a matter of eccentricity, it was a dangerous habit. One would have preferred to not share their actual beliefs(if they had any), but rather to acquiesce to the structuralized belief systems present around them.
With the advent of modern technologies, it has become an entire new paradigm, where the individual is free to construct their identity based upon the beliefs that they cherish (why do we define ourselves by our beliefs anyways?). With the decline of verbal social communication, textual interface has become a realm of endless exploration. Algorithms have been created to even exaggerate these belief systems (so that one can ask, are these beliefs the legitimate construct of the individual's speculative efforts, or are they still being crafted, to an extent, by leading institutions? also; through marketing efforts to keep the individual entrenched in the product, they are providing free advertising for ideologies/etc.)
People have succumb to an internet tribalism, and they, like many tribes are proud and emboldened to raise their voices for the benefits of their tribe. They potentially view those as against their tribe as dangerous... is the internet a primitive landscape?
What I am wondering about is whether or not this desire to express a belief and be socially accepted for it has always been present within the human psyche or is it a result of new mediums of communication; has it always been there, but it was unable to so freely exhibit itself?
And if the new mode of expression is now without the constraints of repercussion through ostracization/excommunication, is there a way for the ones who have the urge to "share their beliefs" do so in a manner that treats divergent opinion with equitability? if belief sharing is done so with the need to find approval for belief, is there a way to teach future generations in this landscape that there are ways to accept the differences of others, and that belief ought not be towards confirming the self in a community, but rather to simply understand the self and where and how it relates to other members of the community?

Under capitalism, there is indeed a "marketplace" of ideas and beliefs. And, like any other marketplace, it will become highly differentiated in order to maximise profits. This "tribalism" you refer to is not a primitive feature; on the contrary, it is its most advanced feature.
#15168031
From what I gather, so far we have two different possibilities.
Unthinking_Majority thinks that sharing beliefs beats sitting around doing nothing
and Potemkin believes that an idea is a commodity that one has purchased and is utilizing the applications of; you bought the book, might as well read it kind of thing.
#15168093
Beliefs tend to be derived from the projects (activity) which people are both involved or committed to.
https://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/pdfs/Opinion-formation.pdf
The classical conception of knowledge formation, i.e., opinion and belief, is an individual observing a natural object or process and trying to understand it by rational reflection and experiment. Having this scenario in mind, Cognitive Psychologists isolate individuals in a laboratory and pose them questions and Sociologists circulate survey forms for members of the public to render their lives into check boxes. In this way, the original question is transformed into one of individual linguistic responses to texts, a scenario which is already distant from opinion or belief in itself, having been filtered through symbolic interaction

Knowledge can be distinguished from opinion and belief in that knowledge is taken to be an ideal, or universal, property of an entire social formation whilst opinion and belief are taken to be ideal aspects of the commitments of individuals. Opinions and beliefs become knowledge when institutionalised by means of definite forms of practice and their associated artefacts which transcend the actions of individual actors within those institutions. Science and the Judiciary are instances of such institutions. Knowledge is not rendered static, absolute or objective by these institutions, but both these archetypal truth-making institutions are instantiated by definite systems of enquiry and truth-testing ‒ quite formal in the case of the Judiciary, less so in the case of Science – which allow for once universal truths to be revised and for degrees of doubt to coexist with certainty. The only absolutes are procedural.
...
The point here is that any specific opinion or belief (i.e., a matter of facticity) is held as part of a wider, more developed ‘narrative’, but ‘narratives’ are associated with social practices, on the basis of which can they only be understood. ‘Narratives’ mediate between commitments to social practices or projects and specific opinions and beliefs. The concept of ‘narrative’ here is not essential. As I argued (2012), narratives and concepts are inextricably bound together and neither can stand without the support of the other. By ‘narrative’, Archetti references that broader system of concepts and beliefs in which a specific claim has meaning and standing. The word ‘ideology’ is not appropriate for this idea, because ‘ideology’ connotes a far too totalising conception, an entire, consistent worldview. On the other hand, mutually contradictory ‘narratives’ can coexist even in the same person
...
By expert-trust network I mean a network of people, linked by relations in which a person A trusts that person B to give good advice with respect to question Q in which A evidently deems them have expertise. Each link is a expert-trust vector: A←B(Q). A church provides an expert-trust network for matters of faith; a university provides an expert-trust network for matters of science; a political party or movement provides an expert-trust network in matters of public political policy. ‘Politicisation’ means the collapsing of all networks into a single network of trust which leads to the phenomenon of tribalism, toxic to the rational and constructive formation of opinion and belief. I take it that this process of politicisation is a major social problem which this research ought to shed light upon.

https://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/pdfs/Something_worth_dying_for.pdf
Identity fusion refers to a person whose identity is wholly subsumed by a collectivity, whether a nation or religious community or a family or group of close comrades. A subject’s identity is fused with a group if the subject cannot see themselves apart from the relevant bonded identity group.
...
Let us further recognise that identity fusion comes in degrees from slight to total.
...
All ideals within a community are constituted by collaborative projects, but the extent of identity fusion a person has with the project may be very slight or absolute, and the project may belong to the past, or may be the chief fact of current social life (as when the country is at war). Likewise, all identity groups are constituted by a transcendent ideal. Collaborative project is therefore a unit of analysis for social formations which captures the identity and motivational structure of the community. It not only describes a social formation as it is, but also the pattern of change at work in the community. Collaborative project is a powerful instrument of analysis, but it is also a crucial component of ethical life itself.


Now the condition of modernity is the plurality of beliefs and even the fact that there is a public and private sphere which is enshrined in the distinction of civil society which is distinct from the state and families. It is with the liberal state that one has the freedom for the personal belief in whatever religion one likes, the freedom to believe whatever, although one may not have the right to encroach upon the very conditions which create such a prospect. In fact the incompatibility of the plurality of views has become a strength for the status quo which defends particular way of life.
https://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/pdfs/macintyre2.pdf
Maintenance of the illusion of “objectivity” is essential, and MacIntyre sees the universities as playing a crucial role in the maintenance of this illusion. Since academics rely for their livelihood on disproving each other’s theories, the resulting interminable and esoteric debate continuously re-establishes the impossibility of consensus.

“In the course of history liberalism, which began as an appeal to alleged principles of shared rationality against what was felt to be the tyranny of tradition, has itself been transformed into a tradition whose continuities are partly defined by the interminability of the debate over such principles. An interminability which was from the standpoint of an earlier liberalism a grave defect to be remedied as soon as possible has become, in the eyes of some liberals at least, a kind of virtue”. (p. 335)

Far from this failure to find any firm ground undermining liberalism, MacIntyre believes that it reinforces it, because one of the fundamental bases for liberalism is the conviction that no comprehensive idea (to use Rawls’ term) can enjoy majority, let alone unanimous, support. This then justifies the ban on governments pursuing the general good.

“Any conception of the human good according to which, for example, it is the duty of government to educate the members of the community morally, ... will be proscribed. ... liberal individualism does indeed have its own broad conception of the good, which it is engaged in imposing politically, legally, socially, and culturally wherever it has the power to do so, but also that in doing so its toleration of rival conceptions of the good in the public arena is severely limited.” (p. 336)

Such a ban on governments pursuing the social good of course serves a very definite social interest.

“The weight given to an individual preference in the market is a matter of the cost which the individual is able and willing to pay; only so far as an individual has the means to bargain with those who can supply what he or she needs does the individual have an effective voice. So also in the political and social realm it is the ability to bargain that is crucial. The preferences of some are accorded weight by others only insofar as the satisfaction of those preferences will lead to the satisfaction of their own preferences. Only those who have something to give get. The disadvantaged in a liberal society are those without the means to bargain.” (p. 336

and consequentially,

“The overriding good of liberalism is no more and no less than the continued sustenance of the liberal social and political order”. (p. 345)

In each of the historical settings that MacIntyre investigates, he is able to show that the type of justice and the type of rationality which appears to the philosophical spokespeople of the community to be necessary and universal, turns out to be a description of the type of citizens of the community in question. Accordingly, the justice of liberalism and the rationality of liberalism is simply that justice and that rationality of the “citizens of nowhere” (p. 388), the “outsiders,” people lacking in any social obligation or any reason for acting other than to satisfy their desires and to defend the conditions under which they are able to continue satisfying their desires. Their rationality is therefore that of the objects of their desire.

But following that the values and beliefs people develop are formed within the projects/practices which they participate within and have various levels of commitment and identification with, so to any struggle against the status quo must grow out of challenges for the values which guide such institutions.
The site of the struggle against liberalism cannot then be the “public domain” of media debates, election campaigns, academic journals and so on, addressing itself to “citizens of nowhere” who speak all languages but understand none. For here, MacIntyre has shown, genuinely ethical dialogue confronts almost unsurmountable difficulties within such a domain. The site of struggle must be within the institutions of practical life.
#15168287
froggo wrote:Why do people share beliefs?

When I read the title, I thought the thread would be about why different people appear to share the same (or very similar) beliefs. That's a different thread entirely! :D

In this case I'd say it's partly about validation - 'testing' your viewpoint - partly about trying to convince others of the veracity of your viewpoint and partly about our subconscious desire for 'confirmation bias', seeing how many people will agree with you and seeing who disagrees with you. In particular reference to the latter, locking horns with someone whose viewpoint is the polar opposite of yours will not shake your conviction or theirs, but will rather reinforce it for both.

All of this is inescapably fraught with opportunities for misunderstanding, because generally people will read or listen to your viewpoint through the filter of their own. As a result, what you write or say will not be what the other person reads or hears.

Over at PoFoUK, where I'm the most active moderator, my card is marked as some kind of out-and-out Leftie/Marxist/Commie and even though I'm none of those things, what I write is routinely misunderstood and subsequently misrepresented by our mostly right-leaning members.

I rarely share my beliefs there because it serves little purpose.
#15168292
Democracy is supposed to be bottom up, most other forms of government are top down.

Intelligence is a group thing. You need a bunch of people banging things around to figure something complicated out. Science is a group thing. We're herd critters, it's the way we roll.
#15168516
Cartertonian wrote:locking horns with someone whose viewpoint is the polar opposite of yours will not shake your conviction or theirs, but will rather reinforce it for both.


This was very insightful, in fact, it had never occurred to me!
I spent several years dating a Christian and was constantly being dragged around to Christian organizations, where I would ceaselessly be proselytized to. I would just smile and nod and be polite. I suppose I began to suspect that everyone who was sharing a view was doing so in order to get you to see things the same way as them. (Much like pure ideologues on internet forums)
To see that in many instances it is done not only to convert but to reassert gives me a better understanding of why I asked this question in the first place (I didn't understand why a particular group of people would fruitlessly carry on arguing with their dialectic opposites)

@Wellsy, I am going to have to re-read your post a couple of times before I fully get it... I suspect it is answering more than just the OP's question. It is answering the question as well as providing direction on what to do with the knowledge of the answer. 8)
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