Why I Can't Stand Casual Political Conversations: A Psychological Theory

Cognitive psychology is essentially the study of how people think. Perception, learning, reasoning and logic are all under the umbrella of cognition.
  1. FACT: cognitive psychology is at the root of human social dynamics.
  2. OPINION: there is no greater example of complicated, convoluted, manipulated, misunderstood, misused, misvalued, irritating human social dynamics than the world of American politics.
  3. FACT: A foundational pillar in the psychology of learning asserts that you do not really know how to solve a problem until you can actually do it. This is why military pilots must pass flight simulator tests before getting anywhere close to a real jet.
  4. FACT: America is full of problems, political ones!
  5. FACT: When you hear or read the solution to a problem, like a student might in a lecture, two things happen in your brain. You process the words, syntax, and language being used to describe the solution, and you process the concept of the solution.
  6. FACT: These 2 things are very different.
  7. ASSUMPTION: As long as the solution is being presented in your native language and the 'instructor' is a competent communicator, you will process the words, syntax, and language relatively quickly.
  8. FACT: The feeling of understanding the language of the argument is often misconstrued as understanding, and truly knowing, the concept it describes.
  9. FACT: learning psychologists call this the Illusion of Mastery.
  10. FACT: You can hear/read a solution and feel that it makes sense, and confuse this with mastery of the concept.
  11. FACT: The only way to prove mastery is to successfully employ the concept(s) of the solution to a new (to you) problem.
  12. BACK TO POLITICS. Consider this scenario:
  13. I hear an argument for a solution to a political problem on TV.
  14. Likely, the argument has been crafted and perfected and strategically presented to be as clear and resonant as possible to human minds.
  15. I understand the argument as I hear it. I'm successfully processing words and syntax.
  16. Unbeknownst to my conscious self, because the words were so clear and powerful, I assume that (a) the concept being described by the words must be correct and (b) I have learned (mastered) the solution. I now feel personal ownership over this solution, since it feels like my own.
  17. Political discussion unfolds around me...
  18. I regurgitate the solution I heard, because obviously I remember the starkly pertinent words, and forcefully argue the correctness of the solution. It makes so much sense!
  19. WHAT'S ACTUALLY HAPPENING:
  20. In no way does hearing and understanding a solution mean you have mastered it, nor does it make it correct.
  21. When I argue the correctness of the solution I heard, I actually have NO IDEA what I'm talking about.
  22. Unless I have personally solved the problem, and can apply this solution again and again successfully, I do not know how to solve it.
  23. There's a 99% chance I have not personally solved any of America's political problems.
  24. I become worked up, and develop contempt and hatred towards people who, JUST LIKE ME, heard an argument, falsely believed they personally understood and mastered the solution behind it, and now go around regurgitating syntax and vocabulary.
  25. I go through life putting up walls between myself and other people because their regurgitated words go against my regurgitated words.
  26. Meanwhile, political problems abound and persist forever and ever, and we all complain about being sad, mad, lonely, frustrated, unsatisfied, distracted, addicted, and stressed.
  27. ...