Why do we read: to reinforce our beliefs?

by — Jan. 28, 2001 (Comments)

Reading for entertainment is definitely a reason we read. However, some of the reasons a lot of people read are for business, success, uplifting insights, health, learning, and how to obtain something.

There is a lot of propaganda that we have to sift through also. For example, if you are searching for a place to travel and read articles about different places. Have you thought you had found a place that was ideal for you? The several different articles you read made the place sound exciting and interesting. Then you researched further and read a book about the area. Yes, it was still interesting and exciting, however, you found that it was cold 90 percent of the year, weather catastrophe’s were a problem 2/3 of the year, and in general it was not a place that you could be comfortable visiting. Reading did not reinforce your beliefs in this case, but gave you the tools you needed to make the best decision for you.

Some other reasons I would like to expand on are psychology, or uplifting insights and resolutions. Most of us have issues where we need help, resolutions, or just positive or alternative approaches that we can use. Many people weigh us down with their negative viewpoint and no matter how positive we are, it will weigh on us which does not help us resolve our own issues. Reading biographies, success stories, Christian living stories, or how to stories help us see a different viewpoint, give a positive outlook or reveals someone else’s solutions to similar dilemmas. These stories do not give us the solution to our problems, but reveals to us that others have the same dilemmas and how they may have either how they solved their issues or lived through them. Either way, these stories help us reinforce our beliefs giving us confidence to solve our own dilemmas. A different viewpoint allows us to utilize a different approach to an issue that we may not have previously seen or possibly understood.

We all have our own opinions. In order to reinforce these opinions and give us the confidence that our opinions are right for us and truthful, we search for reading material that confirms this. We then feel viable. Our opinions can be right or wrong, but they are our opinions and they are right for us in our present situation. If, perhaps, they are not right, sometimes reading the material will give us this insight. Sometimes people will ridicule our opinions, which can cause us to question our beliefs. However, these people aren’t open or self-confident in their own self to accept our opinions and must ridicule to bring their own self up. This can weigh us down and we have a need to search for reinforcement. When we find it in writers who hold the same opinions and beliefs that we do, we devour their books.

It is important to have our beliefs reinforced for a number of reasons. For example, self-confidence for what we believe and why we believe it and the way we live our lives (travel, investments, quality of life, work) and make our decisions.

People find information that helps them make informed decisions. When the information is not complete, or slanted, as in propaganda, a person is unable to make an informed decision and will be disappointed. There are many times we have been disappointed because of an ad campaign or a marketing article, but not too often by word of mouth. A friend, acquaintance or coworker can inform you best. However, everyone has an opinion and their opinion may not coincide with yours, so that when you try a product, or see a city they have recommended, you do not enjoy it.

Weathering the storm and onslaught of other people’s opinion and propaganda is something we should not take lightly. We should research more thoroughly so that we are not continually disappointed by not becoming more informed. Everything in life is a work of art and we must be aware the not everyone sees the art in the same way or they may have a different agenda in telling us that their art is the best art. Because of this onslaught from every direction, I feel that we all need a book or two in order to feel that we aren’t out their by ourselves, but that someone else reaffirms our beliefs.