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Life & Philosophy

Curiosity: the cure for a post-fact world

Lies are seductive. They linger because people are motivated to protect their tribal desires while the liars themselves will do anything to distract you from giving meaning to the facts.

Does smoking kill? Is the Trump administration complicit in Russia’s election hacking? It appears so, but both tobacco and party alike want you hanging on to your doubts. They rather you distract you with other stuff, like beneficent special research they’re funding or tweets to Snoop Dog and Nordstrom’s.

How do we get people to step outside their narrow window and look at the supportive evidence? As Tim Harford surmises, the key ingredient to opening eyes is curiosity.

“Facts rarely stand up for themselves — they need someone to make us care about them, to make us curious.”

Curiosity makes the facts juicer, the same way fear lights up your amygdala. It’s a sad state that the only way to get people’s attention in a post-fact world is by entertaining their senses. But the challenge in selling curiosity will be such.

Read The Problem With Facts

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By Wells Baum

Wells Baum is a daily blogger who writes about Life & Arts. He's also the author of four books.

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