“Why won’t you just believe me?” This is a common enough lament when dealing with the frustration of trying to communicate. There are a couple of problems with it though.
First, it’s a bit emotional for trying to communicate a belief, or thought, which is more of a rational matter.
Second, there’s that pesky word “just” in there. That is almost always a sign of reductionism. It reduces a sharing of a thought, or belief, to a matter of trust. It also reduces the issue to this solitary exchange without taking into account all the other possible contributory factors.
Lastly though, and I think this may be the real crux of the issue (at least it seems to be for me), literally no one ever does that. What I mean by that is that no one ever operates from your beliefs, or mine. Before someone takes an action, they always take that action from within their own system. The only beliefs, or thought systems operating when someone takes an action is there own. Period. Until we get into the sci-fi world of the Jedi, and telepathic control, that is how it will be. Even those who are schizophrenic and claim that they are obeying the orders of the “voices”, won’t claim that voice came from me, or you.
Our beliefs and habits, those grooves of behavior that color our actions and comportment in the world, are ours alone. The grooves of other’s behaviors do not effect our actions at all.
To expect someone else to behave according to our beliefs is to expect the impossible. This has been a habit of mine, and yesterday I saw it clearly. Like any insight, it caught me when it caught me. In the middle of a conversation with a friend, about some evolutionary theories. By any common reckoning of such theories these (those of Terence McKenna, and a couple of others) are a little odd ball, to be sure. Still, I happen to give them credence. There is, of course, no reason why anyone else should. When I saw myself falling back on this plea to blind trust, I realized how silly it was.
That’s the nature of insights into our habitual behaviors. When we see them clearly in the cold light of a crack in our paradigm, it always seems very silly. We face the simplicity of how crazy we’ve been.
In the science fiction writing of Larry Niven Ringworld universe there’s a plant, a shrub really, known as the “tree of life.” When species evolved from primates eat it the plant brings about an amazing mutation. Among other things, the eater has their rational capacities magnified by orders of magnitude. Almost uniformly the being who goes through this transformation utters the same thing when they first come out of the mutational spell, “How stupid, I’ve been…”
I think that Niven might have better called this plant the, “tree of knowledge”, but that’s just me.