Horizon of Perception

Training Education Learning Development

Trust and Indoctrination

-- This is currently a Work in Progress!!! -- 


What is it that causes us to trust some sources of information more that others? 

Is it perhaps how much they or what they represent has previously agreed with, therefore and contributed to, our jigsaw puzzle of experiential knowledge

The theory of Accreted Trust supposes this to be the case. If you were a bookworm as a child you will tend to trust information from books. This will always be difficult to test since if you as a child read a lot you will presumably develop the skills required to extract written information and utilize it efficiently. This effect will probably be much larger than any trust related effect. A stronger example comes with parents. 

Do you trust your mother? - Well first there are a couple of types of trust. The one we usually think of is conscious trust. This is a jigsaw puzzle piece in our mind that says - "I trust my mother" or conversely "I don't trust Peter". 

Conscious trust controls whether or not you even listen to what is being said. If you consciously don't trust someone then you are not going to really listen to what they say or read their book [unless that's all that's available - see indoctrination] and hence are not going to assimilate anything.

So let's assume that you are actually hearing the message: 

"The first photograph ever taken was of a naked woman"

Would you believe this message and file it away?


The two theories: Source Trust and Knowledge Accretion, sit well with the effectiveness of external indoctrination, like that practiced where the media is controlled by specific interests.

A maternal/paternal figure [accreted trust] continuously overloading the mind with a set of interlocking 'facts' will create vast puzzle sections of 'knowledge' which will strongly influence behavior and be difficult to challenge at a later date. Especially if effort is taken to draw connections to experiential knowledge: 

"And the reason you have no food is because of XYZ!" Being hungry is a very powerful experience - click
"Can you feel the power of Jesus right now?!" I feel excitement, which is very tangible, which then links into everything the preacher has talked about - click

What does that mean for the reader when they pick up the same newspaper day after day, for the couch potato watching CNN every day, or for the Objectivist who only reads 'objectivist' editorials?

- Beware of self-indoctrination! 

Why is it so painful to read articles which disagree with our own point of view?



Copyright 1970-2003, Stuart Edward Jones