What shapes thought process


One common held belief is that the exposure to different varieties of idea, thoughts, and people will broaden one’s understanding of world and make our thought process liberal and more behavior tolerant.

But this is just a common held belief. There are many people (I may also be one among them) who despite having a wide exposure to a much liberal worldview have a strong prejudices, harshness and at least very strong views about particular personalities, ideas, and ideologies. Strong views can be on the both sides (supporting as well as opposing sides).  

I am curios what are plausible reasons for development of such strong views/tendencies in a particular individual? Why people develop such a deep prejudices, dispositions about things, personalities and ideas? Is there some mechanism or process through which we can understand this mechanism or process?  What are the factors which play an important role in this process? Or is there even presence of consistent pattern or it is just a random process & no particular factors be attributed to such behavior?

How come seeming well learned, seeming rational, liberal looking individuals become blind followers (opponents ) of personalities, ideas, ideologies, associations and vice versa ? What is possible reason for such a passion?  Especially curious is situation when this kind of passion is seen in situation when events are unconnected with individual’s life or life chances.

Does it have something to do with impression management?  May be they want to project a particular image to their surrounding, may be it has to do something with fulfillment of human desire/urge?  Or it is to showing a particular viewpoint or to project a particular personality among certain group (family, friends, and society).  

What role does their social background, socialization and life experience of individual play in generation of such passion?  Or does it even have to do something with kind of people one interacts on daily basis or occasionally?  

Can individuals have independent rational opinion which neither endorses and nor criticize prevailing trends or social positions. Can’t we take more nuanced position on most of issues?  Why we prefer things in black and white? Why can’t there be gray areas in most of case?

Or is it sin to be neutral in times of change as Martin Luther King once remarked “The hottest place in Hell is reserved for those who remain neutral in times of great moral conflict”. Does morality compel us to take position on either of side? How important is role of surrounding, context and social background in compelling us to take positions (or extreme positions)?  Are individual able to take rational decision when in this chaotic world with his/her consciousness?

But oh wait… But it is really a bad thing to have strong views about something? Or it is good thing?  Another question is how do we define whether one particular position is having strong view and other is moderate position? 

Well according to me it is not that difficult to identify what is strong position and what is moderate position. As long as people make conscious efforts to distinguish between facts and propaganda it’s moderate (but wait facts for some may seems propaganda for others and vice versa especially when you are dealing with humans not natural objects). When people started repeating same thing again and again and can’t tolerate even a bit of reasonable criticism of something then I think it tends more towards the passion (or fundamentalism) or strong views . Are strong views bereft of rationality & consciousness of individual or individual make conscious efforts to project one’s strong views and want other people to take them in that way only?

But even if we agree on what does it means to have a strong views on something it doesn’t answer the question of their merits and reasons behind the generation of strong views in one’s mind. May be everyone has his own way of thinking or may be not (& there is definite pattern in thought process). I don’t know answer to any of these questions. May be you could help me in understanding these complex realities. 

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