How Do You Know?

Have you ever wondered how we can possibly know we’re on the right track? That what we believe is correct? That we’re on the right side and history will look back on us and think, “those were some pretty sweet dudes”?

I’ve thought about this before. I think about it a lot, honestly. As a solid liberal , I’d say I’m about 90% sure that I’m right and that the Republicans are wrong. But how do I know? You might say any number of things in response:

  • You know you’re right because they’re wrong. How does that not strike you as incredibly childish? You might as well cover your ears and go “LALALALALA” too.
  • You know you’re right because they’re jerks. People who are right can also be jerks. Hell, I can name several liberals who are just as big jerks as the conservatives. It’s what my mom call the Asshole Rule–in any sufficiently large group, there’s going to be a few assholes. It’s just human nature. Some groups have a higher rate of assholes than others, but they all have at least a couple.
  • You know you’re right because of [XYZ evidence]. Okay, that’s a pretty strong argument. You’re on the right track. I won’t go with the worn-out argument of ‘evidence can be faked’–the favorite of every conspiracy theorist ever. Instead, I’ll present you with this: Some things you think are right, you can’t provide solid evidence for. I garuntee you. If you’ve never seen an atom up close, only pictures and models, you have no evidence atoms actually exist, now do you?

So how do I know I’m right? I don’t. And I’m okay with that. Sure, it’s worth putting some thought into what you believe and deciding whether it’s really what you’re heart leads you to. But once you’ve decided, unless there’s a clear reason to change your beliefs, beyond the idea that you might be wrong, worrying about it is just going to drag you down.

So yeah, I’m okay with not knowing I’m right. Much better to try and be the best person I can be and shape my beliefs around that instead of some arbitrary concept of ‘rightness’.

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