Why you think you're right – even if you're wrong?

September 23, 2016

The Writer, Julia Galef, gave a presentation about this topic in February 2016. To answer this question, she had to explain two different mindsets: 'Soldier Mindset' and 'Scout Mindset'.

The first mindset which is explained is the 'soldier mindset', which Julia Galef also calls the 'Motivated Reasoning'. Soldiers' actions are driven by emotions like protecting oneself and defeating enemies. It also means that someone with a Soldier Mindset “tries to make some ideas win and others lose, also known as the drive to attack or defend ideas”. Briefly, when they agree with someone or to someone’s ideas they try to do everything to support that per-son. However, she also points out the fact that such behaviour is in most cases a subconscious act.

Scouts' actions are powered by emotions as well, but the kind of emotions are the ex-act opposite. Scouts want to understand everything and identify new things; they 'try to get an accurate picture of reality, even when that's unpleasant or inconvenient'. It is pointed out that such a way of behaving requires curiosity and open-mindedness. In contrast to the sub-conscious actions of someone with a Soldier's Mindset, someone with a Scout's Mindset is aware of his actions.

Julia Galef claims that having a Scout's Mindset is an enormous improvement in comparison to having a Soldier's Mindset. This is also shown through the example of Alfred Dreyfus, who she brought in. Without any airtight evidences Mr Dreyfus was considered and judged to be a spy. The officers had Soldier's Mindsets and their only urge was to find and judge the wanted spy; to eliminate the peril. They were focused on Mr Dreyfus because of little and also weak evidence. He was punished and imprisoned. After some time, Colonel Picquart started to question his and the officer's conclusion about Mr Dreyfus - he started to turn his Soldier's Mindset into a Scout's Mindset. By the time he was able to convince the others of Mr Deyfus' innocence he had been imprisoned himself and it took him about ten years to convince the others. Mrs Galef shows that such a change isn't easy; it requires endurance, because it is of-ten very uncomfortable to hold steady while the majority is holding on to an obsolete and en-trenched way of thinking. Nevertheless, having a Scout's Mindset would lead individuals and the whole society to a different kind of judgement. It begins in everyone's daily life when you stop being ashamed of making mistakes but proud to have learned how it is done right.

My opinion:
I think that the 'Soldier' and the 'Scout' are perfectly well chosen metaphors to explain these mindsets. Moreover, I agree with Mrs Galef that it is an improvement for individuals as well as for the society to change our way of acting by learning to be more aware of our emotions and our desires. The more individuals change their Mindsets to a Scout's one, the more justice and peace would be shown in their behaviour. In addition, I am convinced that a more posi-tive way of thinking makes everyone's life much more worth living.