If the question is "How to communicate obvious and vital truths (conservation, global warming,  public health, sexuality, basic nutrition, religion as parable/myth,… ", Mark Morford's approach is wrong. In Human Stupidity Is Destroying the World he suggests we're screwed because humanity, especially the US public is stupid, ignorant, or intelligent but naive.

... about 37 percent of Americans are just are not very bright. Or rather, quite shockingly dumb. Perhaps beyond reach. Perhaps beyond hope or redemption.

... reading anything even remotely complex or analytical is something only 42 percent of the population enjoy doing on a regular basis ...

... the discussion itself is, by nature, elitist, exclusionary, requiring fluid, abstract thinking ...

It is not enough to say people believe what they want to believe. They will also believe it in the face of irrefutable counter-evidence and millennia of fundamental proof.

What's wrong with Morfor's analysis? First it is elitist and unkind, implying that educated liberals are superior to "ignorant people". This is "I'm OK, you're NOT OK." If the goal is to communicate vital truths, it's unhelpful to begin by insulting your target audience.

When he says, "who's more naive -- the ignorant, or the educated who can't deal with the idea that there are ignorant people" he's saying only he and other educated elite liberals who agree with him on this point are OK and everyone else (like 99.9% of humanity?) are NOT OK.

Basic communication skills suggest that a more helpful perspective would be "I'm OK, you're OK." In other words, embrace your own dark side,

Star Trek's Captain Kirk embracing his evil side in The Enemy Within

instead of wasting energy acting better than thou.

Another way to put this is to separate person from behavior. Instead of putting down human beings as worthless, focus on the behaviors you would like to see changed, while respecting the person as a whole.

For example, instead of deriding people for believing in unicorns or enjoying LOL kitties, consider that human beings are hardwired by our neural anatomy to think concretely about ten times faster than to think analytically, that sensory input depicting emotion and stories is restful whereas analysis and reading complicated papers makes our brains exhausted.

We're hardwired by evolution for social cohesion and submission to a leader. Our primitive nonverbal limbic system decides what's true and real instead of our higher brain. So instead of insulting folks for willful ignorance, which is a DEAD END as far as helping them learn vital truths, lets reevaluate the basis for our self concepts and self esteem.

Admit it, even highly educated liberals enjoy fantasy and LOLcats. That's a start for common ground and mutual respect that accepts our whole minds.

Tags: communication, elitism, ignorance, stupidity

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