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They'll all fall

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

On belief satisfying itself

There is a belief out there that believing something about people directly make that belief come true, for any belief.

For instance, over on Mindlist, a guy just complained about women being manipulative. Someone then suggested that he attracted manipulative women by believing women to be manipulative.

I find it premature to conclud that the belief attract people that fit the belief. My experience is that there are at least five sides to the beliefs about other people's behaviour:
  • Everybody notice the things that match their beliefs, and disregard the things that goes against their beliefs. The beliefs influence their filters.
  • Everybody interpret other's actions according to their beliefs. And I don't mean in what they notice; I mean that if a girl looks crossly at me, I may interpret it as her having a bad day, and if the same girl looks exactly the same way at another guy, he might interpret it as her hating him.
  • Every person tend to trigger a particular set of behaviours in others by how they subcommunicate. This triggered behaviour tend to again influence belief, giving a positive feedback loop.
  • People tend to move towards the role others assign them, the things others expect of them. For instance, I expect everybody to treat me fairly and give me respect. As a result, everybody does so almost all the time. I know people that treat most people quite badly - and me fairly, because I utterly expect that from them, no matter what.
  • Everybody has a certain set of subconscious filters for what kind of people they choose to interact with. These filters will often result in picking the same "kind of people", which again gives rise to similar experiences, and thus beliefs.
With all of this stuff going on - who needs the belief to attract somebody to fit with it, anyway?

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