Beliefs and feelings play a big part in being human — especially when it comes to our self-identity, tribal allegiance, moral/ethical codes and how we navigate through this world. More than that, they are very closely tied with self-esteem As such it is both foolish and unrealistic to attempt to deny their significance while discussing issues. Having said that, a new virus has crept into discourse. That is the belief that we are educated, logical and well informed about a subject … any subject, all subjects. Big chunks of pride are attached to how smart we are for having all this knowledge about all sorts of subjects.
Part of the problem with this is we don’t recognize how much of what we ‘think’ we know, what is filling our heads are NOT understanding or facts, but instead beliefs, cartoon sketches, carefully selected data points and partial information to reconfirm our beliefs. Starting with that a cherry picked set of data points automatically points towards an unquestionable conclusion. (That’s a belief, not a logical conclusion.)
The problem we’ve become extremely arrogant about our belief in how intelligent and informed we are — especially about how WE don’t have beliefs, only rational, informed conclusions and assessments. This is a lie because with that also comes the belief that only idiots, losers and republicans are so feeble of mind that they have beliefs. In short we scorn belief in lieu of faux-intellect and hold in contempt any belief other than our belief (The one that says we don’t have beliefs, only ‘truth.’ )
What really leaves our asses hanging out in the wind is we try to defend our beliefs through ~cough cough~ logic and trying to present ‘proof’ that these aren’t beliefs, but accurate presentations of ‘how things really are.’ Our absolute contempt and dismissal of ‘belief’ puts us into absolutes. A place that we’re doing the exact same thing we condemn others for — specifically, fanatically clinging onto to a belief as an unquestionable truth, denying facts that contradict our beliefs, attacking others and lying. In short, rather than just admitting that we have beliefs like everyone else, we end up rabidly and viciously attacking others for their perceived weakness, while demonstrating that we are more fanatical, irrational and bigoted than those we claim to loathe for those same traits.
On Truth and Full Knowledge – Marc MacYoung