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One always admires the work in which one finds one’s thoughts

Duplessis_-_Suzanne_Curchod,_Madame_Necker

One always admires the work in which one finds one’s thoughts. Suzanne Curchod

Suzanne Necker, borned Curchod, born on 2 June 1737 in Crassier and died on 6 May 1794 in Beaulieu, was a Franco-Swiss woman of letters and salonnière.

Here we have a reformulation of the concept of confirmation bias so popular today. The human tendency is to seek to confirm one’s convictions. A book can very well play this role. There are, of course, books that revolutionise our way of thinking, but they can be counted on the fingers of one hand. Just as today with social networks and online newspapers, almost three centuries ago, our predecessors were faced with the same observation. The reason why we read and admire books in which we find our thoughts is simple: we don’t want to change our minds or we have an unconscious admiration that we call self-esteem. When we read or hear an idea that goes against our convictions, it offends us, disturbs us and undermines our certainties. It is more pleasant to open a book that turns out to be a mirror of ourselves. Moreover, a book gives a dimension of authority and the illusion of objectivity. We can easily quote an author whose positions we share to support this or that point of view. Unfortunately, it is not easy to change one’s opinion; it is not always necessary because one can indeed be right. The problem is that one adopts a rigid position because it may turn out to be ideological, which necessarily leads to an error of judgement in the long term and an inability to think about the world in all its complexity. In order to grasp the world, it is essential to confront the world by exposing oneself to ideas that are contrary to ours; this implies being comfortable with the uncomfortable.

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