One belief that is the biggest cause of mankinds problems is that those who do not share their beliefs are evil. Karl Ericson has written about this in an article of his that appeared in the International Bulletin of Political Psychology, Creation of Paranoia (Part 1, Part 2). He has also written a followup to this article which is on this web site.
Albert Ellis spoke about the self destructive nature of believing that others must agree with our dogmas, in an interview with Psychology Today (The Prince of Reason, Pages, Feb 2001, 66-76). In response to the question "So there's hope for humanity?" he said:
Yes, I think there's definite hope. But there are three musts that hold us back:
- I must do well.
- You must treat me well.
- The world must be easy
And I sometimes think that as long as we keep the second must, which is socially learned, then some screwballs 100 years from now will manufacture atomic bombs in their bathtub and maybe annihilate the whole human race because they demand that the rest of the world must agree with their dogmas. When we don't agree, they may zap us. So we'd better work hard on getting rid of that second must--"Other people must do what I want them to do!" It's what makes people hostile, nasty, mean and combative, and it leads to feuds, wars and genocide. We'd better do something about that.
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