In another thread recently, I used a popularized quote to support what I believe to be the underlying problem with a specific situation we all can relate to which I strongly believe underlies a broader problem might relate to all humans' communication with each other.
The quote most often attributed to Thomas Edison sounds to me like:
A tiny percentage of people think "rightly" (to borrow from Heinlein's "Stanger in a Strange Land"), a slightly higher percentage believe they're thinking rightly, and everyone else chooses to believe the dogmas they were taught and became attached to.
The specific example I was speaking to, was what I considered a text book example that nearly of all us here have some experience with of the social dynamic that is created when we aren't honest about the reality that the quote demonstrates.
The thing is, among the "5% that think", they nearly (if not) all actually "think they think" as well. And the tendency among people that think they are right is to think that other perspectives are wrong. I'm pretty sure that when you unpack this thought, that is what you are left with.
It slips into the sloppiness in which we use language, and the emotional attachment we have to our understanding...of our understanding.
The word believe is "officially" defined as:
"to have confidence in the truth, the existence, or reliability of something, although without absolute proof that one is right in doing so" (Dictionary.com)
"To accept something as true, genuine, or real" (Merriam-Webster)
"Accept that (something) is true, especially without proof" (Oxford)
I see this term being demonized, especially in the "alternative" community. The first M-W definition is actually "to have a firm religious faith", and between that and Oxford's dictionary's second half...they describe accurately the popular usage, at least in America.
The problem I found was interpretation of the word and definitions are not only extremely unpopular, but trigger defensive from "believers" that KNOW that you cannot apply the term to FACTS...which I found is defined thusly:
"A thing that is indisputably the case" (google)
"Something that truly exists or happens; something that has actual existence" (M-W)
"A thing that is known or proved to be true" (Oxford)
I contend that what this community is an "alternative" to, is the beliefs and facts of of our current civilizations' most common dogmas...which is defined:
"A principle or set of principles laid down by an authority as incontrovertibly true" (google)
"Something held as an established opinion; especially a definite authoritative tenet" (M-W)
"A fixed belief or set of beliefs that people are expected to accept without any doubts" (Cambridge Academic Content Dict.)
Soooo...I contend that the 'alternative' emerges as a challenge to the dogmas one was raised with about reality. And the problem that causes so much conflict within the 'alternative' is the fact that too much of the more vocal or leaders or "established authorities" within the community "think they think", while believing thee feedback from the more masses within the alt community that they are true "thinkers" of the "5% category"
Which some of them very well may be. The responsibility of this problem does not fall solely on them, perhaps more of it actually belongs to believers that support those ideas and/or people (authorities) that reinforce the ideas that resonate with them
I believe this whole community grew out of people disbelieving of the popular mainstream authority given dogma. And it has stagnated as very few of the people involved are able to get past their slightly more "open-minded" ideas...they get past COMMON dogma only to get stuck on a more expansive one.
People think that because they see through the obvious common lies, that the "truths" that get to can't possibly incorrect. I know, I know...YOU would never do this...but it sure seems like a lot of the issues we run into come from people doing this...and not seeing it.
Especially for self proclaimed atheists or "scientific" thinkers... as long as "belief" and "dogma" are associated only with RELIGIOUS ideas in your mind, you have difficulty in seeing any inflexibility in your own (beliefs and dogmas that you live by).
That's what really chaps my ass about all of this, it seemed blatantly obvious to me with relatively little work to see that the most empowering universal wisdom that comes out in these places are to "know thyself", which I believe is the only thing you can REALLY know, and maybe not even that completely
....But it is so frustrating when anyone who spouts that sh!t goes on to demonstrate how much they KNOW of anything else. I really think we need to be more honest with ourselves...and work on recognizing when we start feeling that it's more important to tell people (and get defensive of) WHAT we know than actually think about WHY we know it
This place is SOOO interesting and fun when you first dive, consuming all of the diverse ideas you never knew. More often than not, one finds the "anomalous" idea they have expressed, and get validation they are looking for. These are valuable things, helpful to many. But like GI JOE said to me every Saturday morning growing up: "knowing is half the battle"...the other half is KNOWING WHY YOU KNOW IT.