Monday, February 25, 2008

"Saying is believing"

The Washington Post carries today a report on some psychological study which would show that politicians eventually start to believe what they say. A truly frightening prospect if you ask me! In short, three excerpts:

...imperceptibly and often without their own awareness, politicians can come to believe what they tell voters, even if they start out being insincere.

When a speaker talks to an audience, everyone understands s/he is trying to shape the audience's views. What is less known, but equally true, is that the audience shapes the speaker's views, too.

When a speaker is trying very hard to build a powerful emotional connection with his listeners, he is much more likely to be influenced by this effect. All people's perceptions of reality are partially molded by their social interactions, Echterhoff said, but the effect appears to be especially strong when speaker and audience inhabit a shared reality -- when they share an intense bond with each other.

Can you imagine this effect on Chavez who spends all of his time in speeches trying to bond with his crowd? Can you imagine the self feeding that this has caused on both sides? No wonder we are in such trouble these days!!!!

In practical terms it means that in fact Chavez does believe that the health care system is fine, that hospitals are havens of safety and care, that shelves are crumbling under powdered milk, black beans and sugar, that you can stroll at midnight in Catia Boulevard without a care; and worse, that he is willing to believe whatever his crowd of sycophants are willing to believe or make him believe. We see this on the net all the time, including on occasion in this blog comment section.

I suppose that those who oppose my words could pin this on me too. Unfortunately since Chavez is in office my apartment has been broken in twice, my car has been broken in twice, we lost two trucks to highway robbery at work and we have stopped counting how much it costs us to do business due to governmental mismanagement of the country. And I have pictures to report on the food shortages and the bills of what my health insurance does not cover. For people like this blogger the study had this words too:
...when people modulate their comments deliberately and with a clear ulterior motive, they are less likely to be influenced by "saying is believing," compared with when a speaker tries to make an emotional connection with the audience.
I can be accused of many things but nobody can claim that I do not have a "clear ulterior motive" when I write on Venezuela.

-The end-

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