Often, we’re easily fooled by someone convincing us that the ‘snake oil’ being offered is the real thing. We swallow silver, see a faith healer and spend money on a small bag of magic rocks.
At the same time, we hesitate to see the doctor, don’t talk about what really hurts when we do, and get prescriptions that we don’t take when we get home.
We’re skeptical about vaccines but eagerly line up for oxygenated water. When someone tells us a certain kind of person is dangerous, we’re too eager to believe because of our instinctual phobias. We work ourselves into a frenzy over a small injustice but stand by when the big scam unfolds right in front of us.
However, we don’t like being wrong. We need and want to believe, and we benefit from believing. As a result, we entertain just about anything that affirms our beliefs and willingly refute just about anything that doesn’t. We disregard anything that might hint at such by calling it all fake. In other words, we become cynical, short-sighted and disbelieving.
However, disbelieving just for the sake of doing so doesn’t help. No society works without belief, trust and optimism. The challenge is to recognize our misplaced disbelief and replace it with a better, more thoughtful belief in things that are proven to be true and actually work; not just for some of us, but for all of us.