How do you Change Someone’s Mind?
Changing someone’s mind is a complicated process, because it requires modifying people’s reality. Nevertheless, this process is believed to be necessary, as obsolete and dangerous ways of behavior may sometimes harm the society. According to the latest research, the reality of human beings includes five features. Knowledge about them could be effectively used in modifying beliefs and behaviors. Besides, the theory of symbolic interactionism might help to determine the factors that affect people’s responses to certain situations. Finally, conflict theory is necessary for avoiding social conflicts. These three theories can help to construct the set of solutions for persuading any deniers to modify their thoughts and behaviors, as they contain techniques affecting people’s minds. One of the modern problems that will be considered in the present essay is the climate change, the deniers of which prevent the society from developing and improving contemporary ecologic situation.
Explanation of the Environmental Situation
Climate change has become a real problem for the humankind. Moreover, some scientists predict that human beings will be extinct during the next twenty years. They explain this threat by the fact that the Earth will become uninhabitable for people if the average temperature rises by 4° to 6°C. In fact, even growing of the temperature by 2° to 3 °C can create difficulties for the humans, because people’s bodies begin to collapse after six hours at temperature of 35°C and 100% humidity. For example, the 2003 heat in Europe led to the deaths of 70,000 people. However, these are only the first signs of forthcoming tragedy. The factors that indicate the significant climate change include frequent heat waves, enormous storms, lack of nutrition and water, wildfires, sea-level increase, disboscation, and ocean acidification.
Despite the increasing awareness about climate change among the population, approximately 40% of Americans do not believe that they will be greatly affected by global warming. They consider climate change as something distant from them; particularly, humans think that the threat could impact other generations, other species, other places, but not them personally. Furthermore, approximately 15% of Americans view global warming as a lie. Only 16% of people really worry about the effects of climate change. In addition, the number of people that think that climate change is not an immediate problem has increased recently. Such attitudes to global warming are negative and should be modified. Everybody should realize that this issue is real and poses an immediate threat. This would encourage humans to create a solution to the issue. Otherwise, the humankind will possibly stop their existence on the planet within the next few decades.
Explanation of the Theories
Theory of Ethnomethodology. The theory is focused on the ways human beings apply to create their systems of reality. Hugh Mehan and Houston Wood determine five features of reality, such as reflexivity, coherence body of knowledge, interactional activity, fragility, and permeability. The phenomenon of reflexivity involves two concepts. First, people have incorrigible propositions, which are unquestioned and unquestionable axioms. Humans would never agree that these ideas are false. Second, secondary elaborations are used to explain the failure of the incorrigible prepositions and help to keep the incorrigibility of the object constancy belief. Coherence body of knowledge means that people’s reality has system and order. For example, scientists have found that even freaks apply a coherent body of knowledge for organizing facts about drugs. However, unlike scientists, they organized these facts in a different way, yet coherent corpus of knowledge. Interactional activity means that humans create and maintain their reality in interaction with other people. If a person creates a reality on her/his own and shares the information about it, she/he could be called mentally ill Reality is fragile because humans need others to maintain their realities. Thus, suppression of the activities that the first three features describe disrupts the reality. Finally, the reality is permeable, which means that humans deal with different realities and have to change their behavior to respond to the expectations of the reality they adopt.
Theory of Symbolic Interactionism. The theory studies the society focusing on the subjective meanings that people give to some objects or events. These meanings are based on people’s beliefs that are not always true. People’s interpretations of a situation will determine their subsequent course of action. For example, if somebody kicks a person in the knee, she/he can interpret it as an act of aggression, an accident or a playful joke. Depending on the interpretation, the individual will respond to it in some way. People’s beliefs and interpretations change through everyday situations, which is necessary for fitting them to a form that could be expressed and shared with others. This indicates that there is no absolute meaning. Everything could be changed.
Conflict Theory. The conflict theory derives from the works of Karl Marx. In particular, his work The Sources of Human Misery describes the conflict of interests between the ordinary people and businessmen. The dominant class has an advantage in this social conflict. Thus, their major advantage is having control over sources of information. Capitalists are supported by the governments which can stop any strikes through violent methods. Universities and religion are also on the side of the business owners. At the same time, social conflict creates a foundation for social changes, which results in the victory of workers. Besides, Karl Marx determines the sources of human misery. They are inequality between different social classes, injustice, and poverty. The only solution to the issue is replacing capitalism by socialism and public ownership.
Set of Solutions
The mind of climate change deniers could be altered through a range of ways. First, they should be demonstrated that climate change is not a distant issue. These people need simple clear examples which would allow them to understand that their lives and their places of living will be affected. Climate change deniers should be showed that the most of people worry about global warming. These concerns are normal and accepted by the society.
The people should be provided with more knowledge about the climate, but the information should be given in the form that is understandable for most of people, not only for the ecologists. There should be examples from everyday life. For example, not all people understand the connection between the heat waves and climate change, while the others could underestimate the negative effects of raising temperature on people’s bodies. The amount of deaths during 2003 European heat wave could help to demonstrate the degree of the threat. Besides, people need examples from their own place of living. This would make the issue closer to them. The campaigns about climate change should be presented by people from different social classes. In particular, it is necessary to invite businessmen and ordinary workers.
About 15% of Americans believe that climate change is not an issue. Scientists believe that it is almost impossible to change their opinion. However, the media should try to create such a reality where avoiding the climate change issue will be considered as something that does not “fit” the form that could be expressed and shared with other people. The thing is that many people ignore ecological problems because they do not see their value. However, the majority of people want to have the same thoughts and behaviors as the rest of society members. A person that has his/her own reality is usually considered mentally ill, while healthy people normally tend to avoid this. Thus, the spread and acceptance of this idea could affect the minds of people that are not interested in ecology.
Besides, the government, NGOs, educational institutions, and media should unite their attempts in changing the mind of climate change deniers. They have to spread the similar message about the threat of global warming. The main idea is to make deniers believe that their behavior is awkward and unacceptable.
The following set of solutions address changing both beliefs and behaviors, because modifying person’s thoughts about global warming will force them act in a different way. In addition, offered solutions affect people’s reality and require changing the system of knowledge, the ways in which they usually respond to the ecological issue, and interactions with other human beings.
The Application of the Theories in Solving the Issue
The recommendation about providing simple clear examples about the climate change will use the theory of ethnomethodology. In particular, this will help people create a coherent body of knowledge about the problem. Stressing that majority of humans worry about the climate change will use such a feature of reality as interactional activity. Inability to maintain their reality through social interaction is a real threat for people’s beliefs. Most of people clearly do not realize this rule. However, if they see that their thoughts are not supported by the society, their reality will start to dissolve over time. This solution will also use the permeability of the reality because an increase of concerns about the climate will change the reality of the society, while the deniers will have to modify their thoughts to “fit” the reality of the majority.
Persuading climate change deniers that their beliefs differ from the ones that are common for the most of the society members will also use the theory of symbolic interactionism. Otherwise, they will not be able to share and express their opinions to others. Besides, getting new information about the negative effects of the climate change will help them understand how to respond to the issue as well as how to interpret it and what course of actions to use.
Involving different people into the campaign will be used to avoid the conflict theory. This will make people understand that climate change is not a problem of certain group of people, as it is a threat for the entire society. As a result, people will not feel pressure. Karl Marx stresses the importance of information and the impact of government, media, and educational institutions in shaping beliefs. This is included in the set of solutions, too.
In conclusion, the essay is focused on constructing the ways in which the mind of climate change deniers could be changed. Researchers have found that people ignoring the threat of global warming have differences in this position. Therefore, solutions addressing the needs of different groups have been provided. In general, the set of recommendations is based on three theories, such as the theory of ethnomethodology, the theory of symbolic interactionism, and conflict theory. The theory of ethnomethodology provides the understanding of features of reality. For example, reality possesses the coherent body of knowledge, thus, it has been offered to give systemic data about the climate change. To increase the effectiveness of the learning process, it is necessary to make some connections between people’s current reality and the issue. In particular, the examples are taken from the places where the target audience lives. Besides, the theory of ethnomethodology states that people’s reality starts to ruin if it is not maintained by other people. Therefore, the campaigns concerning climate change contain the message that accepting and worrying about the global warming is normal and accepted by the most of society members. Even if people oppose to this idea, they will have to support it over time. This is necessary to “fit” the reality they adopted. Participating of various social groups in changing the mind of people is necessary because it helps to avoid social conflict. Climate change deniers should not feel any pressure from certain groups of people because it will lead to an opposition.