And what makes you believe we should we believe you?
Because of its apparent prevalence, my answer will seem strange. Surely the truth is important, right? Well, the reality is that very few people do what they say they do; they do what they do. Obvious? Not really. Most people don’t know what they think, never mind what they believe. They can give opinions, but opinions and beliefs are not the same. Beliefs are what we do; they’re more about emotion, trust, survival, instinct, pleasure. Opinions are what we say.
The way to learn about people — their beliefs, ideas, opinions, and so forth — is not to ask them; it’s to observe them. This includes yourself, by the way.
Direct questions dealing with matters of belief and principle typically return answers toxified by a panoply of biases that manifest in virtue signalling, chauvinism, wishful thinking and utter delusion. Few people are aware of what they think, and will, when questioned, give answers — both intentionally and not — entirely antithetical to the truth.
Some people will say they are agnostics—they may genuinely believe they are—yet behave like Christians and go to church. Some will expound on their ideas about virtue, yet be total assholes in practice. Some may say gratitude practice can change the world, but practice it only when they’ve pulled shit out of the fan. Some will pontificate about the necessities of hard work, discipline, and planning, and be the most indolent people in secret. A woman may deplore sexuality and beauty as social constructs in spite of her mysterious and helpless preoccupation with George Clooney and other men of status, money and scientifically provable attractiveness.
The point is that actions are what matter, not words. What people do is often the total opposite of what they say.
All that said, I’m going to tell you something I believe that others don’t; that is, something that other don’t act out, which is what belief is. Again, opinion — more specifically, words — and belief are not the same. If contradictions and inconsistencies serve no purpose whatsoever, they at least expose the laughable fallibility of the human intellect.
I believe — and behave as such — that truth doesn’t need elaboration. It doesn’t need philosophical expounding upon or fancy-dressing. It shouldn’t need to be spelled out. It just is, whether we like it or not, in spite of our opinions and beliefs and ideologies. Skulking or dancing around truth; monotonous requests to clarify or ‘prove’ it; denial, and philosophies of personal relativity of truth — the existence of these behaviours is understandable and completely normal, because truth is ruthless, destabilising, messy, and painful; it cuts right to the bone. As understandable as they are, however, engagement or participation in such anti-truth antics should be avoided at all costs.
Hiding from or playing around with the definition of truth destructive in every sense; not only does absolutely everything comes under attack in its absence, but truth is the most healing, nourishing, goodness-generating force in the cosmos. What is built atop of truth is always good, for, no matter what the consequences, progress is always made. What is built atop of untruth is always bad.
One should never prance around when it comes to truth; one should seek it, speak it, address it, live by it—regardless of the consequences. Ignorance of the truth is acceptable. Ignorance of ignorance, too. But as a philosophy, both are harmful.