“The untrained mind will usually take the path of least resistance.”
Robert Gula in Nonsense: A Handbook of Logical Fallacies:
Let’s not call them laws; and, since they’re not particularly original, I won’t attach my name to them. They are merely a description of patterns that seem to characterize the ways that people tend to respond and think. For example, people:
- Tend to believe what they want to believe;
- Tend to project their own biases or experiences upon situations;
- Tend to generalize from a specific event;
- Tend to get personally involved in the analysis of an issue and tend to let their feelings overcome a sense of objectivity;
- Are not good listeners;
- Are eager to rationalize;
- Are often unable to distinguish what is relevant from what is irrelevant;
- Are easily diverted from the specific issue at hand;
- Are usually unwilling to explore thoroughly the ramifications of a topic; tend to oversimplify;
- Often judge from appearances. They observe something, misinterpret what they observe, and make terrible errors in judgment;
- Often simply don’t know what they are talking about, especially in matters of general discussion. They rarely think carefully before they speak, but they allow their feelings, prejudices, biases, likes, dislikes, hopes, and frustrations to supersede careful thinking.
- Rarely act according to a set of consistent standards. Rarely do they examine the evidence and then form a conclusion. Rather, they tend to do whatever they want to do and to believe whatever they want to believe and then post hoc find whatever evidence will support their actions or beliefs and conveniently ignore any counter-evidence. They often think selectively: in evaluating a situation they are eager to find reasons to support what they want to support and they are just as eager to ignore or disregard reasons that don’t support what they want.
- Do not have a clear conceptual understanding of words employed in the discussion and consequently often do not say what they mean and often do not mean what they say.
…The above comments may seem jaundiced. They are not meant to be. They are not even meant to be critical or judgmental. They merely suggest that it is a natural human tendency to be subjective rather than objective and that the untrained mind will usually take the path of least resistance. But the path of least resistance rarely follows the path of rationality and logic.