Originally published on December 30, 2010. I have not been feeling well this week and am taking a short writing break while I recover.
Commander Locke: Damnit, Morpheus, not everyone believes what you believe.Morpheus: My beliefs don’t require them to.– The Matrix Reloaded
What if you are wrong?
What if your most strongly held beliefs or codes – religious, political, philosophical, ethical, moral – are false?
This is a question to which I return from time to time not because I seriously doubt my own beliefs but because there is always the possibility that I could be mistaken. In the past I have been known to switch opinions on a variety of topics after thoughtfully considering new ideas. It isn’t something I expect to happen again but I also never thought it would occur in the first place.
Everything that I’ve experienced so far has led to my current beliefs but I’m not omniscient. Religiously speaking, for example, there could be something that I’ve missed that obviously points to the:
having the corner on the truth.
Ultimately it is as important to know what one believes and why we believe it as it is to hold those convictions with a gentle reminder that I, you, we could be wrong.
My Rule of Thumb:
If someone cannot admit that there’s a possibility, as slim as it may be, that they don’t have the unadulterated truth I will take everything they say from that moment on with a few teaspoons of salt. One blind spot has already been uncovered. Of how many others are they also unaware?
There is a deep, quiet strength in ambiguity-flecked beliefs, in following hunches, assumptions or even convictions without the zeal of absolutism. Grey is not always a cobbled road between the black and white villages of truth and fairy stories; sometimes it is its own destination.