Wednesday 11 January 2023

Committee consensus is one big reason why people Really-Believe nonsense

Why do so many people - especially those in leadership positions - believe things that are false? 

Of course, the ultimate reason for rampant falseness is dishonesty - since the world is ruled by evil, and evil always lies. 

But proximately, how does it happen? What is the psychological mechanism by which so many people believe stuff that is contradicted at the personal level?... And also believe it to the extent of staking their own livelihood and lives on the truth of nonsense? 

One important answer is committee consensus

Although I hated and avoided committees throughout my 'career'; nonetheless I attended more than enough of them to recognize their cognitively-distorting effect. 

This is a psychological aspect of committees which comes on top of their objective deficiencies as a decision-making method; and the destructive evils of voting to make decisions. 

This is the way in which committees reach a consensus; which is then assumed to define reality

I have seen this innumerable times. A committee has to decide on some-thing that is - or should be regarded - as a matter of fact; but the actual reason for a decision pushes facts down to the level of personal opinions; and personal opinions are framed in terms such as in-group versus out-group, people you like/ are powerful/ from whom we want favours - versus the opposite.

After a while, the members of the committee often reach a conviction of the rightness of... whatever-they-have-decided; and that rightness has nothing to do with the real world - and everything to do with that psychological state of conviction. 

Then, on top, there is way in which committees integrate with the minutes and conclusions, the results and recommendations, of previous committees - such that the web of committee become the only valid reality.  

In other words; the system of bureaucracy operates on the implicit and unconscious assumption that there is no reality out-with the system of bureaucracy - no reality with-which to compare and contrast the committee world. 

And this assumption is all the more powerful for being implicit and unconscious (since it is so absurd that if examined explicitly it could not stand).   

Yet consensus can be, and of course is, routinely engineered by well-understood techniques. Yet those who are thus manipulated nearly-always deny that it has happened... Probably because personal status and power (and employment) is conditional upon committee consensus. 

At every level of modern society of which we are aware and in all major institutions; a committee stands at the apex of power. Therefore, there is no limit to the wrongness with which committees can - formally and officially - regard reality

Now that we (in the West, especially) inhabit a totalitarian world - the web of committees is global, and links all social institutions within the nation.  

Once that vast system has reached consensus on some-thing - there is a virtual reality of vast scale and complex inter-linkage to reinforce the virtual reality of consensus; there is no way-in for real-reality. 

Indeed; there is no way even to acknowledge the separateness of real-reality; thus no way to compare real-reality with the virtuality of consensus. 

Individuals have - en masse - made the choice that their own personal experience, reason, common sense are unreliable ways of knowing; and therefore need to be subordinated to committee consensus. 

And, once that choice has been made; belief becomes something external to be obeyed - not something for which any individual is personally responsible.  

And, once that 'something external' is a committee, functioning in a bureaucracy of their-committees - then we are in a world where committee consensus defines reality; and real-reality might as well not exist (without any regard of what yours or my personal judgment may say on the matter).  

Consequently; it is possible, perhaps normal, that the things everybody believes in terms of public discourse; are things that individuals do not believe. Yet they have pre-decided that independent personal discernment ought to be suppressed; therefore they absolutely believe whatever nonsense is committee consensus. And such individuals cannot - in principle, under any circumstances - ever take responsibility to abandon that committee-derived consensus reality; because to do that would we be evil, and dangerous.   


Sean Fowler said...

The medical faculty at the uni I attended in Sweden was called Consensus. The all encompassing pedagogy was known as problem based learning.The brain child of a certain John Dewy. There is great deal written about his connections with global communism NWO conspiracy theories and full blown satanism. Can neither verify nor refute any of the aforementioned accusations, but he’s certainly due some kind of perdition for the suffering that he myself and countless other

We were made to work in groups. The purpose of which, it seemed to me, was to condition us to come to the “ correct”, preordained conclusions,subordinate ourselves to the group, suppress our own inconvenient thoughts and reach a consensus. While the group subordinated itself to the politically correct narrative. Of course the knee bone was still connected to the thigh bone and the thigh bone was connected to the hip bone, but secondary to the content of the teaching, the medium was the message. Very effective conditioning. They must have got away with murder in the social sciences, where all reality can be interpreted as subjective and therefore molded to fit any agenda. Fought them tooth and nail for five years. Only got away with it because I was English.

Sweden regards itself as a consensus society, even uses the word. The Swedes naturally or unnaturally, as the case may be, have learnt to seek samförstånd = same/understanding. Agreeing to differ is a foreign concept, conflicting opinions are considered to be extremely uncomfortable. Equality of thought is most highly revered. Correct thinking comes from top down, but the powers what shouldn’t be play very a clever trick. When the state, media, academia or whoever have decided something is true, and certain steps need to be taken, theyy say that society= samhället has decided it. Samhället is regarded as both government and society at the same time. This automatically produces consensus as the people regard themselves as society and can often been heard to state that, “ We have decided.” Eventhough they never had any part whatsoever in the decision making process. Equality of thought 9000, 000 personal discernment 1.
Step out of line and you get hammered.
So yes. You are on to something Bruce. Consensus. Powerful weapon in the wrong hands.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Sean - I think that in earlier eras Men were naturally groupish, less individual. But for more than 200 years Men have been becoming naturally individual.

Yet this innate trend has been (as it were) artificially, superficially and in a top-down fashion opposed by systems, propaganda, ideology etc.

Marxism and Communism generally is an example (plus many other 'isms') - bureaucracy/ committees/ consensus and other (related) economic phenomena such as mass production, team ideologies, and the ruling ethic of 'altruism' (nowadays regarded as perhaps the highest form or morality - when it is in fact anti-Christian -

I feel sure that this externally-compelled-groupishness was not what was intended by God when He made Men more individual in their consciousness in this 'modern' era; it goes against divine creative intent, and that is why all these groupish phenomena are so closely related to evil.

Lady Mermaid said...

@ Sean Fowler-That is why I consider "the will of the people" and "popular sovereignty" to be asinine. I am just one person in millions of voters. I'm not "the people". I'm just me. Claiming to have made a personal decision in masses of millions of people is arguing that one can drain the ocean by taking a cup of water from it.

I hate the word "consensus". It brings to mind the "scientific consensus". Real science used to be about asking questions and being willing to challenge existing paradigms. Today, it resorts to "97% consensus" and "The science is settled". My favorite is "trust the experts". I consider bureaucracy to be a tool in destroying creation. It seeks to homogenize spirit and matter.

Joseph A. said...

I find these posts -- these diagnoses of bureaucracy, really -- very informative and useful (for understanding much that is off in contemporary life).

Bruce Charlton said...

Philip Neal comments:

Committees are certainly one of the ways in which official truth is manufactured, but how it takes hold is a separate matter.

Murray Rothbard somewhere identifies the "cumulation of knowledge" fallacy, the supposition that new discoveries simply accumulate like sports results and are seldom if ever matter for controversy. Time and again the publication of a new experimental study is reported not as a move in the scientific game but as an announcement of undisputed fact in a way that might be appropriate for a new species of dinosaur or another extra-solar planet.

Consider the recent denunciations of Andrew Bridgen (BSc Biological Sciences, Nottingham) on the subject of [the peck]. The issue is not just the sheer circularity of saying that "misinformation costs lives" because we "know" that [pecks] save lives, but the angry certainty with which it is said, exactly like Noel Edmunds denouncing the non-existent drug Cake. What the Prime Minister, the Chief Whip and the former Celebrity of State for Health "know" is what educated conventional wisdom says on the matter, and since it has said so for over a year, it is part of the cumulation of knowledge and only a crank could presume to challenge it.

Mark Millward said...

I fear that you neatly summed-up how it is that the independent apostolic authority of individual Catholic bishops has been utterly subverted by the Council of Catholic Bishops of England & Wales. That and the deficient rite of consecration introduced after Vatican 2. You’d almost think it was deliberate. Hmmm…