Lately, I’ve been struggling with people that don’t know how to use simple logic and fact—aka evidence—to illustrate their claim. It seems like showing facts would be the first thing people would do when trying to make a point, yet far too often this isn’t the case. People want to throw around opinion without backing it. They want to use loud voices and belittling words to shut others up, merely because they lack the evidence necessary to prove their opinion as being actual fact.
You’d think we’d learn from Ockham’s razor. You know… that simple concept from William of Ockham that says, “Suppose there exist two explanations for an occurrence. In this case, the simpler one is usually better. Another way of saying it is that the more assumptions you have to make, the more unlikely an explanation is. Occam’s razor applies especially in the philosophy of science, but also more generally.” From Wikipedia
But no… It seems too many people aren’t interested in the simple explanation. It seems they want to focus on blanket statements, assumptions, conspiracy, really anything that keeps them from actual facts. Or maybe it’s that the facts prove them wrong, and some folks simply can’t handle being wrong.
I’m losing patience for these types. Then I get angry and stop wanting to educate. I want to shut them down with an explosion of fact instead. But when I do, it does no good. Too often these types get defensive and shut me out.
The sad part of it all is that before I began therapy and started seeking fact first, I was the same way. I would go to great lengths to protect my fucked up perception of reality. I had all the answers… (Not really, but I thought I did.) I had all the bullshit excuses that these same folks are spewing now. So I thought, “Hey, if I was once there and I learned and grew and became healthy, they can too. All I have to do is teach them.” But that doesn’t work. It hasn’t and isn’t working.
In fact, the more unhealthy the person, the more likely they are to dismiss everything I say and prove. They’d rather label me as evil than accept that they are wrong. That they have somehow missed the boat.
Pride is a dangerous thing indeed.
When I began seeing this, I was greatly disappointed. Especially when it came to people that have known me for a long time. I thought for sure when I shared my newly found knowledge that they’d be leaping up and down, ready to hear everything I had to say. But no. Instead, I was a threat.
A while back I saw this video below. I didn’t know it at the time, but this simple video would lead to so much understanding…
I’d heard the song many times and fell in love with the video instantly. But it wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I looked up what Plato’s Allegory of the Cave meant. The more I read, the more I understood why these people I thought would jump for joy with my sharing of knowledge, didn’t.
For those that don’t know what it’s about (and I do suggest the read), it’s about men in a cave that have been chained to a wall and can only see shadows, believing that’s their whole world. But the philosopher begins to realize that what he’s seeing is a shadow, a reflection, and he begins to seek the truth of his small world. He breaks free from his chains and begins exploring the cave.
At first, he sees the fire behind him that’s been causing the shadows, but it’s bright and hurts his eyes. It takes a while for him to adjust to the brighter lights, but eventually he does. He’s then able to see the detail on the cave walls. He sees his brethren still chained. But he keeps exploring.
Eventually, he finds his way out of the cave and is so blinded that he literally can’t see anything. It—again—takes him time to adjust. But he does. And that’s when he discovers the world, the sun, the sky, the earth, the moon and stars, for the first time.
Full of joy and wanting to help his brethren still chained in the cave, he ventures back into the cave. But it’s dark, and now he’s used to living in the light. So when he enters the cave and tries to free his brethren, they see his temporary blindness as a bad thing. They assume his leaving the cave damaged him, and when he tries to get them to leave, he becomes the threat.
The men seek to kill the threat.
I fell in love with this immediately. It instantly made sense why those that aren’t ready to truly see, would see me as a threat. Essentially, I’ve returned to the cave—armed with knowledge and fact and information—all things that these people see as a threat.
It’s in times like these where I need to remind myself of Plato’s Allegory of the Cave.
Sometimes going back is the right thing to do.
But most often, the best thing we can do is keep moving forward. People will see what they are able to when their time is right. They will learn on their own curve and not a moment sooner.
Some may never learn.
I accept that.
In the video, it’s the girl’s learning about Plato’s philosophy that helps her shed her mask and embrace herself. She walks into the light of day free from hiding, free from self-judgment, free from only seeing the world behind a mask.
I need only remember this when I’m struggling with people that don’t have interest in growing. All I can do is keep moving forward myself. I can keep learning and growing and maybe one day, they will leave the darkness and stop being so damn afraid.