I certainly want to be able to assume you and I are kindred spirits, like minded, on the same page, in agreement about those things that really matter. Sure, I value harmony, consensus, and solid agreement and do not doubt you do too.
My desire to believe that you too believe rests partially on not wanting contentiousness between us but has more to do with hoping you avoid the distress that comes from being wrong. Since I am confident in my views, your disagreeing with me would unfortunately mean you have to struggle through the embarrassment and frustration of being wrong.– What a downer that would be for you.
Perhaps you think I should be a tad more realistic, a little more open to our having differing views and opinions; but according to Orson Scott Card, “…we question all our beliefs, except for the ones we really believe, and those we never think to question.” I wonder if this is true. If so, there are things we believe just because we believe them and others we believe simply because we’ve never given any thought to not believing.
Add this to Felix Cohen’s observation, “Generally the theories we believe we call facts, and the facts we disbelieve we call theories;” and we are left with a discouraging conclusion. Most of what we think is true and factual, most of what we really believe, is little more than one more theory, just another personal opinion.
There is an important glitch here. Most everyone else also chooses belief over non–belief, subscribes to one more theory, another personal opinion. That then becomes their belief, the principle according to which they live. Of course, since we really believe, we are right and they are wrong. The way we choose to live is good and right; and the way they choose to live is wrong and unjust.
Here is a suggestion that might lessen the tendency to discount everyone else’s perspective. Pick one principle we use to govern our life. Assume we are wrong, this cherished principle is invalid. How would that change our world, our perception of ourselves and our actions? While we are contemplating this alternative reality, keep in mind most people in the world are certain that our valued principle, our most cherished belief is wrong.
Is there a sound conclusion in there somewhere just waiting for us? I am reluctantly considering the possibility I am the one who has to struggle through the embarrassment and frustration of being wrong. That is even more of a downer than your being wrong. It just may be our differing views and perspectives each have merit and substance.
Am I saying, on some issues, you may be right and I am wrong? No, I am not willing to go quite that far. Even so, we may need to talk.