CHANGING BELIEFS AND OPINIONS 9/7/20
I've been "schooled" today by an intellect much greater than my own. It's hard to admit that one's beliefs are in error. This is a great and humbling lesson to me.
I know and understand now why it's so hard to argue against someone whose view of the world is so different from my own. Changing one's belief is an extremely difficult thing to do. I spend a lot of valuable time and effort thinking I can change the mind of a Republican Trump supporter, for example. Now I've come to understand that it's a waste of valuable time and a tragedy to actually destroy another person's deeply ingrained belief, because to do so destroys the person. It's a mistake to think that if you destroy a person's belief, then they will adopt the belief which you offer instead. No. They will not accept a new belief that conflicts with their old one. Instead, they will probably be confused and lose their pride in themselves and lose their commitment to believe in anything at all. The fancy word for this attitude is "nihilism". A nihilist believes in nothing, and denies that there is such a thing as objective truth. A nihilist is inclined to tear everything down in his existing society. So, your success in changing a person's mind or belief is really an overall negative thing. Your efforts are wasted and may even be harmful.
If I pose the question ,"Is there such a thing as objective Truth?" , then I'm knocking on the door of of all philosophers who have ever lived. I am kicking at the support posts of every civilization and every society that ever existed. I am grabbing humanity by both ears and looking into their eyes with my question. Millions have died, are dying, and will die at one another's hands because of divergent beliefs about what Truth is. Only a few will understand the question. Only a few will even care about the question. Fewer still will pause to ponder the question. Only a scattered handful will offer an answer. Only a tiny percentage of humanity will hear or understand or even spend a moment to care about an answer to the question. Yet, amazingly, all of humanity's quality of life, depends upon the answer to the question, "Is there such a thing as objective Truth?". Can we all believe as one? Think of the possibilities of life without dissension among ourselves, and with being able to advance ourselves through common goals.