You might have noticed that many of us don’t accept the truth, no matter how much “proof” is offered. I’m not talking just about politics but our daily lives.
In fact, “looking away” has its uses.
Years ago, I believed one could convince someone else with a persuasive, logical, well-organized argument. There would be an “aha” moment, and the speaker would have shown the light to the other. Not simply displayed it but caused the illumination of another mind, without which the brilliance of the day or cloudlessness of the sky made no difference.
Few of us always want the truth, and some don’t want uncomfortable truths for multiple causes of which they possess little awareness. We are often metaphorically blind at those times. Our emotions play with the possibility of clear-eyed consideration of ideas without our knowledge of having done so.
Why might that be? Many reasons.
- When you are a child, you need your parents. Best to recognize them as the ones who guarantee the well-being of your tender life rather than as people who haven’t mastered the job, especially if they are unkind. Even adults can carry their childhood desire for their parents’ love in the hope of obtaining it … finally.
- We want to get along with others: neighbors, friends, co-religionists, family members, and co-workers. Well-functioning relationships often require compromise and depend on seeing the best in those near us.
- If unsure of what to think or believe, it’s nice to go to experts who claim to be more learned. Financial advisors and almost all other professional disciplines rely upon this to make a living. Trust is necessary unless we wish to go through life alone.
- Counting on those exuding confidence and a record of success transmits assurance to us. Relief and appreciation upon hearing their apparent truths are byproducts.
- Our high-speed lives and responsibilities are pressured with complexities. Simple solutions relieve stress and doubt.
- Not knowing the proper direction to go is troubling when the map of life is confusing. Happiness and satisfaction appear attainable if we receive straightforward instructions, “the” solution (so we are told) to problematic issues.
- We are prone to perceive people as if they are one thing. Good or bad, bright or dull, kind or harsh. Once placed in a category, humanity tends to stick with such impressions despite future contradictory information. No one is great, generous, loving, and self-sacrificing in every circumstance. Halos are for the divine.
- Most of us not only wish to be seen but care about being recognized, accepted, and admired for something close to the fullness of our personhood. Con-men figure out this vulnerability and exploit the qualities that enhance their value to us.
- Truth can be painful. When discerning a devastating or costly truth, the draw of fantasy is powerful.
- Certainty in your spouse’s fidelity sometimes lasts longer than the actuality of it. Few mates seek to break up families, hire lawyers, and face this challenge to a historically loving foundational relationship. Looking away may be a comforting alternative if we succeed in self-persuasion and ignorance.
- Passionately spoken untruth, if repeated many times, often seems more convincing than raw facts.
- Imagine telling a friend about someone you both know and reporting the fellow’s deceit. Assuming your comrade did not witness the misbehavior, his hesitation in accepting your observation is understandable, all the more if your buddy has a long positive history with the miscreant.
- As death is not considered a fun topic, many avoid the issue, including some of the implications that demand our attention in creating a fulfilling life.
- Homo sapiens must envision the world’s doubtless beauty and capacity for enhancement. If humans consider the planet beyond repair, it would be harder to sustain any sense of optimism or find courage when difficulties arise.
- Some knowledge also fails the test of usefulness. Assume you require surgery. Not everyone can understand all possible side effects, make wise choices among different types of procedures, and interpret medical research that helps inform such decisions. Nor is the ability to choose doctors always easy.
- Sometimes, the patient might enlist a friend or loved one to take over a good-sized portion of the task, ask questions, process information, and make suggestions. Doing so might reduce the stress of those in need without endangering the medical outcome.
Taking in too much of the world carries the potential to disable us. The challenge for everyone is knowing how much we can handle and under what conditions.
Whether we comprehend it or not, prioritization or triage is required, thereby recognizing what is essential to face and what can wait. This is easier than it sounds, of course, because the unconscious plays its shadowy role.
Not everything must be known, and not every battle be fought to have a good life.
You might consider this … every so often.
The first image is a Dark Matter Map from Hyper Suprime-Cam survey, 2018. Beneath is a Blindfold Hat by Dale and Kim Schoonover. Both are sourced from Wikimedia Commons.