What makes some people highly contentious with those of differing/opposite opinions, purviews,
outlooks, and mindsets, even creating unnecessary drama and histrionics?
The overwhelming need to be right.
I feel people who go to extreme lengths to be right all the time, to the point where they dont even make any sense, are the kind of people who quite literally cannot live without their beliefs. If those beliefs are wrong, then they are left with nothing to live for.
Therefore they cannot actually comprehend the possibility that they could be wrong, and will go to any lengths to prove that they arent.
Anyone who takes a few minutes to listen to any of the major "Talk Radio" shows is bound to hear lots of anger and frustration expressed especially if it's a conservative talk show host.
People need to blow off steam and one of the easiest ways of doing so is confronting someone who has a different opinion.
It makes for great ratings and higher revenues when people disagree or better yet hate the opinions of others. However at the end of the day the issues remain unresolved, nobody's mind gets changed and the only people that make out are those providing the forum for others to fight in.
Great question. From a psychological perspective, the issue is identity. Most people gain a portion of their identity from their beliefs. For some people, their whole identity is formed around their beliefs. For them, facts that betray their false beliefs feel like a personal attack. So they lash out in anger and say that "I'm right, you're wrong, shut up!" And they'll even fight you over it because their beliefs are their only strong defense mechanisms. And everyone has to protect their own ego in some way.
This is why people with extremely strong beliefs are open to crazy suggestions that support their beliefs. The best one I heard lately was that Germany and Mexico have tanks on the Texas/Arizona border, waiting to invade the U.S. This sounds bizarre, but the person listens to talk radio and this is his only source of information. Moreover, he nearly disowned his sister for saying that was ludicrous--German's on the American border.
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