Sunday, May 30, 2021

Why Trusting Popular Wisdom is So Dangerous

I am reading Bill Bryson's book The Body: A Guide for Occupants and he mentions something disturbing.  I already knew this with respect to the McMartin Preschool child abuse case in the 1980s: children can be persuaded to believe what the therapist wants them to believe, in order to convict people of crimes that could not have taken place.   Bryson points to an article in the 12/3/2003 Guardian that found that it is not just children. 

"We can easily distort memories for the details of an event that you did experience," says Loftus. "And we can also go so far as to plant entirely false memories - we call them rich false memories because they are so detailed and so big."
She has persuaded people to adopt false but plausible memories - for instance, that at the age of five or six they had the distressing experience of being lost in a shopping mall - as well as implausible ones: memories of witnessing demonic possession, or an encounter with Bugs Bunny at Disneyland. Bugs Bunny is a Warner Brothers character, and as the Los Angeles Times put it earlier this year, "The wascally Warner Bros. Wabbit would be awwested on sight", at Disney.

This is why totalitarianism is so powerful.  Over time, many will be persuaded that Jews or whites are the cause of all economic or other oppression.   They will remember the incidents. 

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