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Toffler On Ideologies

October 30, 2012

Excerpted from Future Shock, by Alvin Toffler:

The [orientation response] is particularly stressing when a novel event or fact challenges one’s whole preconceived world view. Given an elaborate ideology, Catholicism, Marxism, or whatever, we quickly recognize (or think we recognize) familiar elements in otherwise novel stimuli, and this puts us at ease. Indeed, ideologies may be regarded as large mental filing cabinets with vacant drawers or slots waiting to accept new data. For this reason, ideologies serve to reduce the intensity and frequency of the OR.

It is only when a new fact fails to fit, when it resists filing, that the OR occurs. A classical example is that of a religious person who is brought up to believe in the goodness of God and who is suddenly faced by what strikes him as a case of overwhelming, senseless evil. Until the new fact can be reconciled or his world view altered, he suffers acute agitation and anxiety.

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From → Books, Excerpts

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