Omphaloskepsis?

Ultimately, some people will find themselves irritated by things like the discussion of Bad Decisions. We’re pretty much infinitely imperfect and ignorant, so there’s no way on earth to divine a certain answer and it’s all conjecture. Anyone who’s mind is grounded on concrete things will probably want to run away and never look back. But I’m naturally abstract, and this is some of what goes through my head as I try to make sense of the world around me . (I’m always creating and refining models, systems, and frameworks…) I’m also naturally introverted, so it is usually entirely inside my head. It seems like a good idea to get it out. Not only do things look and sound a little different when they are “outside”, but it also provides an otherwise absent avenue for external correction.

I’m aware that people occasionally find me combative (or I’m occasionally aware that people find me combative). While I acknowledge this, I really don’t understand it. It seems like I can either accept any idea, or take an idea, tear it apart, and evaluate it. I’ve generally done this with with anything I already believe, and it seems like it would be foolish forgo this before replacing any held belief with a new one. My feeling is that the alternative is to be a nonthinking lump of flesh, and that doing so would render my existence pointless. This is undoubtedly extreme and wrong, but it’s how I feel, and I can’t just change the way I feel because it’s not correct, reasonable, or rational. (Trust me, I’ve tried.) In any case, my “attacking” another person’s idea (not the person) would be better taken as a sign of respect, because I think that the idea is worth of consideration and possible adoption. Similarly, I get also uncomfortable when someone else seems to accept my idea without adequate vetting. I feel patronized or dismissed, not honored or respected.

Some people think that their relationship to me somehow grants their ideas adequate reason for adoption. Being my boss, pastor, parent, wife, daughter, brother, or friend doesn’t make someone omniscient or infallible. People who care about me (and themselves) should want their ideas honestly evaluated for mutual benefit. Having a relationship certainly does grant their ideas some degree of additional consideration, but that consideration is evaluation, not acceptance.

I’ve also been told that it can be upsetting that I always believe that I’m correct. It’s true; the alternative is to believe that I’m incorrect, and that’s a logical paradox. How would I live each day honestly thinking “I believe the sky is blue, but that’s not true” (to use a silly example). It doesn’t even make sense. Of course, I do believe things that aren’t true. I’m sure my thoughts are full of all sorts of foolishness. But I don’t (usually) know what they are, and I’m glad to be corrected. I don’t want to believe incorrect things! I’m sure some would suggest that I could live in uncertainty, not having any confidence that what I believe is correct or incorrect. I’m not even convinced that it’s even possible. If it is possible, it’s probably universally accepted as a paralyzing pathological condition. No thanks.

Maybe it’s just a matter presentation. My interpersonal skills certainly aren’t what they could be. I am also, at times, needlessly negative.

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