Righteous Blindness

With now with exactly 100 votes on my “Rhetoric vs Craziness” poll, I see readers largely (85%) agree with me that it was the craziness that was most important element in the analysis with rhetoric taking a distant second.

Nonetheless, 15% of readers disagreed with me and wanted to focus on the rhetoric.  Now, as I stated, I think that the disgust for the particular rhetoric in both these cases is warranted, but the point of the post was to illustrate how our righteous anger can blind us from analyzing a situation due to blowing out of proportion the role of that which we dislike.   And yes, I am saying that I think that those 15% of readers are mistaken.

In my Third Eye post I likewise  illustrated how this blindness (a habit of mind) also occurs in the game of WeiQi.  Also, I see it happening in many Atheist discussions where blind righteousness makes some Atheists judge all religious actions as harmful and sees no good in religion.   I think “righteous blindness” happens to us all, and we should all be diligent to avoid it.  But let me give a caveate that something can still be wrong without being the present cause of any given event — it is OK to be indignant when deserved.


Filed under Philosophy & Religion

7 responses to “Righteous Blindness

  1. Tim Smith

    We probably all have become impassioned about a subject, issue, event or ideology only to find out later that we were somehow wrong in our interpretation of the facts. Conversely we may take a stand empirically and then later be empirically vindicated in our ‘take’ on an issue etc. Either way the input from the world such as, news images and sound bytes, friends opinions, whatever cannot be used to justify craziness. There are certainly mitigating circumstances in life and these issues are assessed legally and we hope justly. It is part of the forensic sentencing process and in principle at least is valid. Extremes of thought are always the potential price of our freedom to think openly but I adhere, with possibility of mitigation, to the theory ” your freedom ends where my nose begins.” Responsibility trumps craziness.

  2. @Tim :
    Responsibility is not the subject of these last posts. Some theories say a crazy person is not guilty because not free. Some disagree. Either way, they are crazy. I am not debating free will here. [if I understand you correctly]

    Pecked out quickly on my DROID phone !

  3. I didn’t vote in the poll since I don’t believe he was (necessarily) crazy in any clinical sense, or at least I haven’t been convinced of it — so even though free will and responsibility may be tangential these issues do interfere with the “basic” analysis of the situation. Also the righteous-anger-syndrome could well happen in reverse: it could cause one to focus on the perpetrator and assume he “must be crazy” hence skewing the stats in the direction you agree with.

  4. @ Michael
    Like Tim, I am basically a “responsibility” leaning kind of guy.
    Like you, I think “craziness” is used far too often.
    But I think the main drift of my post still stands.
    I agree with your points — I think.

  5. alywaibel

    This is a great line: “I think “righteous blindness” happens to us all, and we should all be diligent to avoid it.” Just finished reading Genesis and Development of a Scientific Fact 🙂

  6. Thanx Alywaibel — the insight that we all suffer the same delusion is so penetrating.
    Genesis and Development of Scientific Fact sounds fascinating — is that required reading for a course — I can’t imagine reading it otherwise.

  7. alywaibel

    Yes, assigned reading. You’d probably like it

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