So, who should we be believing?
Shouldn’t we believe the lives people live, if we’re going to live their beliefs? What matters is how they, and the people around them, project the love that turns hearts to the truth, not to fiction. And fiction, fantasy, and self-delusion are the ultimate issues for us as humans.
So, if you go forward seeking people to believe, it is quite a safe assumption that they have already believed something that’s a self-delusion. We, for instance, tell ourselves that we’re not doing this. By excusing our lack of skepticism against their words after trusting them because they tell us what us we want to hear, we begin to tune out information that refutes our choices, rather than reconsidering them constantly.
However, we don’t get to examine the lives and consequences these voices have lived, and less and less as we listen to people through screens rather than face to face. To base beliefs on things coming from a device that are not just independently confirmed facts — I’m talking about people and opinion now — is to presume that you’re being influenced by their biases, as they edit and whitewash their actual lives.
Only close relationships give us any chance to see the results of the way a person lives, and even then, it’s not the person that we should seek truth from. The problem that should be clear now is that every person we meet has the same issue, personal weakness. When someone does seem to have their life all put together, it’s just as likely that they are also hiding problems and pain from poor choices they’ve made.
This paints a very bleak picture for ever feeling like you can trust someone’s words. Take a look at how you’ve come to your beliefs. Are they coming from trusted sources, or are they coming from where they should come from, humility. A strange word choice, yes. But this is the quality in each person you’ve trusted that is the reason you trusted them, because they either demonstrated some kind of humility, or because they seemed to be doing fine without it. The latter category should likely be less trusted, but we tend to trust confidence over quality content, a lot.
Humility, though, true humility, is hard to fake. It only comes to people after failure, and even then, only after reconciling it with the personal weakness that led to their mistake, if they can see it at all. Truth simply does not come to people through any other means. Even the endeavor of science started out as an attempt to absolve investigation of the truth from this incessant drive of humans to muddy it with overconfidence, from our stubborn lack of humility. But, when that initial presumption of fallibility is lost, all kinds of missteps and fallacies are introduced rather than avoided.
What we usually end up with is a value system based on people we’ve trusted without regard for their weakness, when this is really the only thing, weakness, that we should always presume. If you are honest with yourself at all, this should be obvious. We should be asking ourselves, how much should anyone really trust what I’m telling them? The answer, of course, is precisely as much as we’ve failed and tried again, in humility.
Yes, discoveries can be spontaneous, but these only occur with phenomena that were always there, just waiting to be found, not with untried musings of gurus, or even career professionals in their field, for that matter. Each bit of info that they have learned to be true has been tested countless times through the filter of failure before it is uttered as fact, but there are also countless examples of “facts” that have undergone no such testing, spoken confidently as if they had.
It is the voices, then, that are close to you, those who have demonstrated humility, or better, have failed right in front of you, or even failed you personally, who have then made a change. You’ve seen their course corrections, and you have seen their humility guide them into reconciliation, into true confidence. To these, you should lend your ear. Then, you’re not listening to a person, or their overconfidence, you’re listening to truth itself. Their words reflect your own failures and discoveries. It is our shared weakness that should speak truth, the changes made, in humility, before our eyes.
Where does this leave our information age, as it blusters and babbles with overconfidence, ad infinitum? Well, there are voices that do carry the wounds of self examination, even in all the noise. The point is to begin countering well spoken text, and confident, charming, even believable voices you’ve allowed into your head, with questions. The most important one is probably, what pain has this voice been through, or caused, that brought a change? It’s going to be a tough ask for someone on a device. But, if someone deserves your ear, they should have a good answer.