"You know, the very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common,

they don't alter their views to fit the facts, they alter the facts to fit their views, which can be uncomfortable, if you happen to be one of the facts that needs altering. - Doctor Who, The Face of Evil.

The real meat of this quote is "the very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common, they don't alter their views to fit the facts, they alter the facts to fit their views", but I prefer the whole quote because, one, it gives the entire context and, two, it sounds much less didactic.

I think it is very true, since I experienced it first hand back in 1977. I was a big sci-fi fan back then (and still am) and loved watching Star Trek, but was hungry for more good sci-fi (after all, how many times can you watch the same episodes over and over again? Quite a lot, actually). On TV there was The Starlost, Planet of the Apes, The Tomorrow People, Space 1999, The Six Million Dollar Man - while those shows could offer some entertainment, they did not have the same impact as Star Trek.

As the momentum and praise for Star Wars grew, so did my interest. After all, here was some sci-fi to watch on the big screen, with modern special effects, etc ...

I was not terribly impressed by it. There was a lot of talk about the amazing special effects, I still noticed the blue-screening. I thought the story was poor and uninteresting.

So how do 11 year old friends react when they are pumped with hype and convinced this is the greatest movie ever and I say, "I didn't like it."?

Simple. They deny I ever saw it, "What are you talking about? You never saw it," thereby altering the fact that I saw it. Clearly, had I seen the movie, then I would have loved it. Since I did not like the movie, it is obvious I did not see it. QED.

Those eleven year olds grow up and become adults.

Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant. - Robert Louis Stevenson


b said…
Great personal example to fit that quote. Yes, this alteration of facts dominates our society. And it doesn't help that the media already hugely distorts those facts. It is no wonder that depression predominates our society!

I really like the Louis Stevenson quote you finished with. It isn't what we reap, but what we sow that matters.
Barbara said…
The piece of this post that resonated with me was the desire that some people have for everyone else to share their opinion about something (like a movie). I dislike about 95% of the movies I see, considering them colossal wastes of time. I saw "Once" last weekend. Although it had some nice photography of Ireland and at least one nice song, the movie had no real plot and seemed like it had been made by a bunch of amateurs. Two of the six of us liked it and kept trying to convince the rest of us that we were wrong. This is clearly a case of people having different taste in movies.
Richard said…
breal: does the media distort, or do consumers consume disproportionately?

Yeah, the RLS quote seems more meaningful than "You reap what you sow."

barbara: You need to go out and see more kids movies.

There is a difference between a healthy debate and attempt to indoctrinate.
I think everyone does this to some extent, not just the stupid or powerful. We have a certain mindset due to whatever reason, perhaps our experience and what we've been taught to believe and how to view the world, so we naturally try to make everything fit that scheme so ot Works for us and we can make sense of it.

I can't think of an example of how I've been a fact to be altered. I've had assumptions made about me that are not based in fact. One old battle axe once commented on some new clothes that I was wearing by saying, "Must be nice to be able to just go out and buy things whenever you want", insinuating we had more money than most because we didn't have kids, my husband made a lot of money and we lived in an expensive big house.
None of what she insuated was the reason I had new clothes, and they weren't expensive.
tin-tin said…
i love the quote! coz it's true! hehehe.
and regarding your experience,, hahahaha :) sorry, but your friends are mean. actually, people are like that. sometimes they can't accpet that you don't agree with them. you should have told them the story so they'll believe you :)
Richard said…
MOI: I am not trying to disparage anyone with the lead quote. I could have left it without comment, but thought a personal experience comment emphasized the ... they don't alter their views to fit the facts, instead they alter the facts to fit their views. because I find it happens so frequently. Most commonly this occurs with people denying they said or did something, never mind that it is part of the public record (or at least my memory). Besides, the quote just doesn't quite have the same impact when it goes something like, "You know, people don't alter their views to fit the facts, instead they alter the facts to fit their views.".

Many studies show memory to be quite malleable and open to suggestion and revision.

A fuller context for the quote is: The Doctor, arrives on a jungle planet where he is denounced as the Evil One. (At some point in the past, his face was carved into the side of a mountain, though the Doctor cannot remember why.) According to the local mythology, he is the Evil One who imprisons their god Xoanon. The Doctor's presence threatens the power and authority of the shaman Neeva who sets out to kill him - thus spurring the quote.

tin-tin: I don't think they were being mean. I think they were simply trying to make sense of the world in the only way they knew how; since my reaction was unexpected, denial was the easiest answer.
b said…
richard...undeniably, both.
carra said…
I think we are brought up that way. We all are taught that somethings are wrong and some are right, when we grow up and once we decide that something is wrong it can't be any other way. That is where the arguments come from, it's not only difference in taste it's also the difference of knowledge, put two experts of physics and they will find something to disagree on because they are different therefor their conception of things and understanding are simply different.

Popular Posts