Self Reflection, Self Analysis, and Self-Fulfilling Prophecies

One of the gravest weaknesses of our society’s discourse (and especially its political discourse, on both sides) is that it is militantly unreflective. The vast majority of what anyone has to say anymore boils down to ridiculing the other side for being dumb and bad. This rests on a fluffy bedrock of assumptions about one’s own righteousness. But nobody anywhere seems to even try to analyze those assumptions, much less justify them. I guess there’s no market for that. So we all march on, convinced that every knee-jerk reaction to the perceived flaws of anyone who’s different is automatic evidence of their subhuman venality, and everyone goes home at night reassured that they’re very very good and the Other is very very bad. Good thing we’re all so grown up.

On this subject, we could all find a valuable parable in this anecdote from Robert Wright’s 2017 book, Why Buddhism Is True. Just swap out the belief in the scar of the subjects in this story for whatever ideology you find axiomatic.


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