by Promod Puri
When things or incidents happen in front of our own eyes or are reported through trustworthy sources, and we deny them as non-events, there could be a “motivated reasoning” for that denial.
Psychologists name the observed phenomenon denialism.
A recent example of denialism is when President Trump refuted the pandemic of COVID-19 in its early stage. And when most of India’s upper and wealthy class refused to accept the plight of migrant workers in their agonizing walks back to the villages during the peak Coronavirus lockdown.
Historical events, like the Holocaust, have never happened according to those who refute the genocide. Climate change is a myth; the theory of evolution is nonsense, and the earth is not round, but a flat dish, are the examples trapped in the insulated casing of denialism.
In denialism, our social behaviour, and political and religious identities get rigid with the discriminatory pick of pieces of evidence. Rationalization becomes irrational in fussy argumentation. And society becomes polarized when information receiving is selective to match the perceived opinions and verdicts.
Denialism is an irrational act. So why do people deny or reject the basic facts that are undisputed and well-supported by verifiable or scientifically-proven realities?
Several reasons based on their religious, political or social beliefs explain the behaviour as it confronts the uncomfortable truths. Moreover, people who stick to denialism may have personal interests and egotistical or narcissistic passions. An ideological worldview can be a factor too.
It is for these reasons, in the absence of reality and truth, denialism gets its spot that creates a mindset fanatic attitude that can cause roadblocks or dead ends to free or liberal thinking.