How gullible are you? Is your gullibility located in some "gullibility center" in your brain? Could a neurosurgeon reach in and perform some delicate operation to lower your gullibility, otherwise leaving you alone? If you believe this, you are pretty gullible, and should perhaps consider such an operation.
It is human nature to want to believe in the wizardry of the magician--but also to turn against him and to scorn him the moment that he commits the slightest error that reveals his trickery. Those in the audience are embarrassed to have been so easily astonished, and they blame the performer for their gullibility.
He was in awe of the thirst that people had for someone to tell them that everything was going to be all right. He marveled at the gullibility and vulnerability of his fellow humans. No wonder the churches called them sheep. They were woolly-headed pack animals being herded around for the benefit of whoever knew how to control the dogs.
The most difficult part of being a mother was to observe the mistakes of one's children: the foolish loves, the desperate solitude and alienation, the lack of will, the gullibility, the joyous and naive leaps into the unknown, the ignorance, the panicky choices and the utter determination.
We live surrounded by a systematic appeal to a dream world which all mature, scientific reality would reject. We, quite literally, advertise our commitment to immaturity, mendacity and profound gullibility. It is as the hallmark of the culture. And it is justified as being economically indispensable.
John Kenneth Galbraith
Being myself animated by feelings of affection toward my fellowmen, I am saddened by the modern system of advertising. Whatever evidence it offers of enterprise, ingenuity, impudence, and resource in certain individuals, it proves to my mind the wide prevalence of that form of mental degradation which is called gullibility.
Considering mankind's indifference to freedom, their easy gullibility and their facile response to conditioning, one might very plausibly argue that collectivism is the political mode best suited to their disposition and their capacities. Under its regime, the citizen, like the soldier, is relieved of the burden of initiative and is divested of all responsibility, save for doing as he is told.
Albert J. Nock
According to the estimate of a prominent advertising firm, above 90 per cent, of the earning capacity of the prominent nostrums is represented by their advertising. And all this advertising is based on the well-proven theory of the public's pitiable ignorance and gullibility in the vitally important matter of health.
Samuel Hopkins Adams
What is called for is an exquisite balance between two conflicting needs: the most skeptical scrutiny of all hypotheses that are served up to us and at the same time a great openness to new ideas. If you are only skeptical, then no new ideas make it through to you. On the other hand, if you are open to the point of gullibility and have not an ounce of skeptical sense in you, then you cannot distinguish useful ideas from the worthless ones.
The most fearsome monsters of all may inhabit the dark corners of our mind waiting for us to release them through our believes and gullibility. the phenomenon feeds on fear and believe. Sometimes it destroys us altogether other times it leads us upwards into the labyrinth of electromagnetic frequencies that form a curtain in the area we call windows and stalk us to drink our blood and create all kinds of mischievous beliefs and misconceptions in our feeble little terrestrial minds.
John A. Keel
North Korea invites parody. We laugh at the excesses of the propaganda and the gullibility of the people. But consider that their indoctrination began in infancy, during the fourteen-hour days spent in factory day-care centers; that for the subsequent fifty years, every song, film, newspaper article, and billboard was designed to deify Kim Il-sung; that the country was hermetically sealed to keep out anything that might cast doubt on Kim Il-sung's divinity. Who could possibly resist?
Religions, of course, have their own demanding intellectual traditions, as Jesuits and Talmudic scholars might attest.... But, in its less rigorous, popular forms, religion is about as intellectually challenging as the average self-help book. (Like personal development literature, mass market books about spirituality and religion celebrate emotionalism and denigrate reason. They elevate the "truths" of myths and parables over empiricism.) In its more authoritarian forms, religion punishes questioning and rewards gullibility. Faith is not a function of stupidity but a frequent cause of it.
Mood evidently affects the operation of System 1: when we are uncomfortable and unhappy, we lose touch with our intuition. These findings add to the growing evidence that good mood, intuition, creativity, gullibility, and increased reliance on System 1 form a cluster. At the other pole, sadness, vigilance, suspicion, an analytic approach, and increased effort also go together. A happy mood loosens the control of System 2 over performance: when in a good mood, people become more intuitive and more creative but also less vigilant and more prone to logical errors.
It seems to me what is called for is an exquisite balance between two conflicting needs: the most skeptical scrutiny of all hypotheses that are served up to us and at the same time a great openness to new ideas. Obviously those two modes of thought are in some tension. But if you are able to exercise only one of these modes, whichever one it is, you're in deep trouble. If you are only skeptical, then no new ideas make it through to you. You never learn anything new. You become a crotchety old person convinced that nonsense is ruling the world. (There is, of course, much data to support you.) But every now and then, maybe once in a hundred cases, a new idea turns out to be on the mark, valid and wonderful. If you are too much in the habit of being skeptical about everything, you are going to miss or resent it, and either way you will be standing in the way of understanding and progress. On the other hand, if you are open to the point of gullibility and have not an ounce of skeptical sense in you, then you cannot distinguish the useful as from the worthless ones.
The hocus-pocus phantasm of a God like another Cerberus, with one body and three heads, had its birth and growth in the blood of thousands and thousands of martyrs... In fact, the Athanasian paradox that one is three, and three but one, is so incomprehensible to the human mind, that no candid man can say he has any idea of it, and how can he believe what presents no idea? He who thinks he does, only deceives himself. He proves, also, that man, once surrendering his reason, has no remaining guard against absurdities the most monstrous, and like a ship without a rudder, is the sport of every wind. With such persons, gullibility which they call faith, takes the helm from the hand of reason, and the mind becomes a wreck. [Letter to James Smith discussing Jefferson's hate of the doctrine of the Christian trinity, December 8 1822]
It is not brains or intelligence that is needed to cope with the problems with Plato and Aristotle and all of their successors to the present have failed to confront. What is needed is a readiness to undervalue the world altogether. This is only possible for a Christian... All technologies and all cultures, ancient and modern, are part of our immediate expanse. There is hope in this diversity since it creates vast new possibilities of detachment and amusement at human gullibility and self-deception. There is no harm in reminding ourselves from time to time that the "Prince of this World" is a great P.R. man, a great salesman of new hardware and software, a great electric engineer, and a great master of the media. It is his master stroke to be not only environmental but invisible for the environmental is invincibly persuasive when ignored.
The church knows that an educated man is an unbeliever. That is why there is a continual struggle on the part of the clergy to adulterate education with superstition. To maintain their untenable position they must keep the people shackled to a form of mental slavery. Both fear and superstition are forms of a contagious disease. The ignorance of man produced natural fears of the elements of nature. What he could not understand he attributed to malevolent spirits whose primary purpose was to punish and harm him. Under this spell it seems almost incredible that he ever advanced from his state of primitive ignorance. His fears produced such fantastic monsters of the air that it was first necessary to relieve his tormented mind of these terrifying myths of ghosts and gods before he was able to acquire even the simplest rudiments of knowledge. Man's ignorance and fears made him an easy prey of priests. His gullibility was such that he believed everything he was told. He soon became a slave to these liars and hypocrites.