I am distraught as I see the results of the senatorial elections. How can we, as a nation, choose ________, _______, _______ (fill in the blanks) over qualified candidates who understand law crafting, a job that’s highly cerebral and requires high moral integrity?
I cannot seem to make sense out of this. Even if I immerse myself in the use of the principles of Behavioral Economics (fusion of traditional Economics and Psychology) and know that we use our limbic brain first, then rationalize later with our pre-frontal cortex, things still don’t add up.
Then I remember this article written a couple of years ago that facts don’t change people’s minds. (Click link)
The human mind is just way too stubborn that even hard cold facts won’t change what it believes. Remember confirmation bias that I’ve discussed in previous articles and FQwentuhans? It is a cognitive impartiality that favors information that confirms our previously held beliefs.
This is the reason why getting into a debate head on with someone who has opposite views on politics, religion, even money, using facts is futile. This is because indeed, facts don’t change people’s minds. So what change people’s minds? There are some ways discussed in the article by law professor Ozan Varol that may help us change other people’s (or our) minds. Let’s go through them, and I’ll try to FIlipinize and relate to the recent elections.
- Bigyan ng palusot. Varol calls this, “Give the mind an out” because we are always reluctant to acknowledge mistakes. Yes, this is more effective than belittling the other person, “What an idiot?” “How stupid?” “Ganito na ba tayo ka-tanga?” “Bobotante!” Once you use all these insults, the battle is lost! It may be really good to assume that maybe that was the best decision the other person could make given the available information and his particular situation at the time he made the decision. Once you make the other person feel this way, then he may consider listening to you.
- Ikaw ay higit pa sa iyong paniniwala o gawa. We have to separate the person from the belief or the product. This may be a challenge to do but the reality is that a person consists of more than just one belief. You and your friend may not see eye-to-eye in your political beliefs, but you may share in your beliefs and values about parenting, money matters, etc. When we consciously separate the person we’re talking to from his belief, project, book, or article, then maybe the discussion of the disagreement will become more objective and productive. Instead of, “You’re wrong when you said in your article that…” maybe “Your article’s argument that… is…” would be more effective. There is no attack on the person but just an objective discussion of a belief.
- Linangin ang kakayahang maki-isa. In the original article, it says we have to build our empathy muscle. When the opposition candidates campaigned saying that there is a need to have an independent senate in order to make the three branches (executive, judicial, and legislative) function well in our country, this may not have meant anything to our voters at all. What if they said, “Noong panahon ng mga tatay o lolo natin, may isang pangulo na ginustong ipagpatuloy ang kapangyarihan at mawalan ng oposisyon upang mapabilis ang pagsulong ng proyekto. Pero may limitasyon ang tao at ito ay laging nagdudulot ng pag-aabuso ng kapangyarihan. Ito ang nangyari noong panahon ni Marcos. Hihintayin pa ba natin na makuha nya ang lahat ng kapangyarihan? Alam nyo ba na baka pag lumala ang sitwasyon ay kakailanganin na naman nating magdusa ang ating mga negosyo, magrebelde ulit ang mga anak nating estudyante, damputin ulit sila at i-torture, ipapatay gaya ng nangyari noong Martial Law? Okay lang ba sa yo na gawin yon sa mga anak at apo mo?”
Or if you’re arguing with a fellow Avengers fan you can say, “Didn’t you agree with the Avengers that the greatest danger happened when Thanos got all the six infinity stones?”
- Lumabas sa comportable mong lungga. We all tend to just hang out with the people who think like ourselves – be it on Facebook and other social media platforms, our work, school, village, or other communities. Sometimes it is for our own sanity that we just block those who don’t share our opinions because they suck out the energy in us. But from time to time, we ought to listen to what others have to say, especially those who hold opposing views. Just try to remember that by doing so, we are able to broaden our knowledge and perspective. Maybe if we have this open demeanor, we not only learn from the opposite side, but also make it easier for the opposite side to be open and listen to us.
Last Monday all five of us trooped to our respective voting precincts. It was far from convenient because for some reason we were in three different schools, but it was a duty and privilege that we all value and so we did with little or no complaints. We just considered the heat, dirt, and long wait as all part of the exercise. In fact, over lunch we all observed that Filipinos are really very kind by nature. The teachers and volunteers were just cheerfully doing their job. The voters were not complaining about the long wait. It seemed like we were all just united as Filipinos. And yet, we are so divided when it comes to income distribution. It reminded us that there is really an alarming income inequality in our country.
Is this income inequality the main reason why we, as a nation, seem to hate the highly educated, dismissing their “decency” as something inauthentic? Are the masses just too angry that any form of higher education and qualifications are automatically dismissed as elitistang dilawan who are up to no good, that they would rather give their vote to the plunderers, habitual absentees, proven liars, document falsifiers, and pambansang photobomber, just because somehow these guys succeeded in connecting with them when they danced, appeared in the movies, cracked jokes, shook their hands?
To some extent, elections are great equalizers as a citizen’s vote is counted as one regardless of income, net asset value, address, educational attainment, etc.
But then again, there are also those who are definitely in the privileged classes of our society who voted for these plunderers, habitual absentees, proven liars, document falsifiers, and pambansang photobomber.
There’s a lot of introspection called for here, individually and as a nation.
We all know the facts. But again, facts don’t change people’s minds. Empathy and care do. It’s time the people who are capable of leading us to prosperity and real nationhood learn a lesson or two on how to get these across the people they want to serve.
God save the Philippines.
- Today’s episode we feature one of the challenges Anton had during the Myx VJ Search 2019 where he is one of the 12 finalists to hopefully become the next Myx VJ. They were tasked to interview someone relevant and he had to go with two-time UAAP Men’s Basketball Champion and Team Captain – Anton Asistio. Here’s an extended version of the interview he had with his namesake. ?
YouTube – https://youtu.be/ZWCDpGFOS08
You can also stream the audio version here:
- Thanks to those who already bought the FQ Book, especially to those who took the time out to send me their feedback. Your feedback is food for my soul. To those who have not gotten their copy yet, here’s a short preview of FQ: The nth Intelligence
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Rose Fres Fausto is a speaker and author of bestselling books Raising Pinoy Boys and The Retelling of The Richest Man in Babylon (English and Filipino versions). Click this link to read samples – Books of FQ Mom. She is a Behavioral Economist, Certified Gallup Strengths Coach and the grand prize winner of the first Sinag Financial Literacy Digital Journalism Awards. Follow her on Facebook & YouTube as FQ Mom, and Twitter & Instagram as theFQMom. Her latest book is FQ: The nth Intelligence.
Photos from kisspng.com, ABS-CBN News, blog.eonetwork.org, and millardwestcatalyst.com modified and used to help deliver the message of the article.