A few days ago I watched a movie on Netflix called Don’t Look Up.
Don’t Look Up is a hilarious satire, it tells the story of two low-level astronomers who go on a giant media tour to warn mankind of an approaching comet that will destroy planet Earth. Poignant, funny, and powerful all at once.
The message of the movie is an allegory for climate change, showing how those with the power to do something about global warming wilfully avoid taking action and how those with vested interests can mislead the public.
But it also reflects scientific denial more broadly, including what the world has been seeing with COVID-19.
People that engage in “groupthink” are more likely to overlook relevant facts, which may lead to them making bad decisions.
Groupthink leads to lack of creativity, lack of solutions that lies outside the group, ignoring important information and inability to see other solutions
In his fascinating novel, “The Overstory” Richard Powers says the following about groupthink:
“In fact, it’s Douggie’s growing conviction that the greatest flaw of the species is its overwhelming tendency to mistake agreement for truth. Single biggest influence on what a body will or won’t believe is what nearby bodies broadcast over the public band. Get three people in the room and they’ll decide that the law of gravity is evil and should be rescinded because one of their uncles got shit-faced and fell off the roof.”
That line about our overwhelming tendency as humans to mistake agreement for truth hit me hard.
This is the best description I have heard of our fallibility.