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I grew up with very strong beliefs and I viewed being resolute and concrete in them as a strength.

In our culture today we see this played out every moment of every day as the media pits one side against the other and everyone’s belief as right or wrong, even to the point of the other side as being flat out evil. Social media isn’t a place of consideration, but of unabashed opinionating.

In this episode I’m with Andy Norman, a PhD who is the award-winning author of Mental Immunity: Infectious Ideas, Mind-Parasites, and the Search for a Better Way to Think.

His work has appeared in Scientific American, Psychology Today, Skeptic, Free Inquiry, and The Humanist. He has appeared on The Joe Rogan Experience, public radio, and The BBC’s Naked Scientist.

His research is on the emerging science of mental immunity as the antidote to disinformation, propaganda, hate, and division.

Bottom line, Andy is striving to help people develop immunity to bad ideas.

My focus is really on the harm we do to ourselves and others when we are so rigid in our beliefs we won’t consider anyone who differs.

Andy showcases how many, if not most of our beliefs, are more tied to our self-image than truth, and how this hurts us and everyone else.

It’s ok to have strong beliefs, but if you feel strong in them and it’s not just to support your personal bias, then wouldn’t you be strong enough to allow someone to explain their differing beliefs and actually seek to understand them?

Even if you don’t change your belief, you are showcasing it by being willing to understand another side.

And in doing so, you’ll help your own peace of mind and build better relationships.

Andy directs the Humanism Initiative at Carnegie Mellon University and is the founder of CIRCE, the Cognitive Immunology Research Collaborative. You can find him at andynorman.org.

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