Seth Godin in Tribes:

A fundamentalist is a person who considers whether a fact is acceptable to his religion before he explores it.

As opposed to a curious person who explores first and then considers whether or not he wants to accept the ramifications.

A curious person embraces the tension between his religion and something new, wrestles with it and through it, and then decides whether to embrace the new idea or reject it.

Beliefs (religion) shape perceptions. If you believe something doesn’t exist, you won’t see it, you’ll ignore or downplay evidence to its existence. If you believe something does exist, you’ll see evidence of it, and downplay evidence against it.

we all suffer from this bias.

Example: Synchronicities. If you believe they exist, you’ll look for them. If you believe they don’t exist, you’ll dismiss them as random and coincidental.

The trick is to cultivate the curiosity, and to be willing to admit how your current religion benefits you.

What do you get out of being a fundamentalist in a given area?

Does it make you feel safer? Smarter or better than others? Does it keep you from opening your heart and being vulnerable? From letting other people in? From accepting that ultimately you don’t have control over everything in your life?

If your religion makes you happier, more effective, gives you more of what you want - great, stick with it it.

If not, it’s time to reconsider.

Seth goes on:

It’s easy to underestimate how difficult it is for someone to become curious. For seven, ten, or even fifteen years of school, you are required to not be curious. Over and over and over again, the curious are punished.

I don’t think it’s a matter of saying a magic word; boom and then suddenly something happens and you’re curious. It’s more about a five- or ten- or fifteen-year process where you start finding your voice, and finally you begin to realize that the safest thing you can do feels risky and the riskiest thing you can do is to play it safe.

Once recognized, the quiet yet persistent voice of curiosity doesn’t go away. Ever. And perhaps it’s such curiosity that will lead us to distinguish our own greatness from the medicrity that stares us in the face.


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