Do I Need Other People to Believe in Me to Believe in the Validity of My Own Experiences and Insights?

On the one hand, no. Some insights carry their own validation it seems. For example when I first heard that “slacks” were the opposite of “tights” I did not need anyone else to tell me this was true. The two words just fell into place and formed a new configuration — opposite kinds of leg gear, depending upon degree of looseness. The whole human race could array against me in battle regalia, waving flags that said “SLACKS AND PANTS ARE NOT OPPOSITES — THAT IS JUST A CO-INCIDENCE” and I would stand firm. And indeed, this makes sense, because if one person cannot find confidence in himself then how can he give it to others? There needs to be a gold standard, otherwise we are just exchanging worthless paper, backed up by nothing. Doesn’t there?

But on the other hand, yes. If my insight falls on deaf ears from those I care about my confidence seems to wither, or harden into a defensive posture, held more tightly in defiance against the incomprehension of my fellows. If it is greeted by understanding it grows; if not I start to wonder what I even mean by it. And in fact, in the case of money there need not be a gold standard; as long as we accept each other’s currency it does not need to be backed up by anything. Just as there is no mythical store of gold we can all exchange our dollars for, there is no mythical store of truth we can all exchange our sentences and beliefs for. It is enough to keep things going if I can convince others.

And yet…what good is it to convince others if my beliefs and insights don’t back me up in the final extremity when I die alone? Or, you could ask, what need do I have of convincing and being convinced then, or believing, or talking, or having experiences, or insights even?

But at that moment I have to ask — Who are these others anyway? Are they anyone else than different configurations of this same naked self, whom the pants of insights an opinions and beliefs both conceal and reveal, hanging sometimes tightly, and sometimes slack.


6 thoughts on “Do I Need Other People to Believe in Me to Believe in the Validity of My Own Experiences and Insights?

  1. Short comment …. because “relationship” is innately important, and to have relationships that lovingly back you up — is really desirable.

    Now the word “validation” requires more answer. I have experiences and “knowledge” that are beyond the understanding and agreement of the consensus reality. You have that, too — right? Validation by others is useful and welcome as a step toward conversation, understanding … and potentially greater usage by others. And the ensuing conversation (rather than the “change the subject” reaction) helps me a lot in learning how to use language to create the bridge between paradigms. 🙂

  2. It is enough to keep things going if I can convince others.
    Doesn’t that seem rather frightening?

    I mean granted, gold has little practical value. But atleast it’s something.

    Does it seem like convincing is always worth something because heck, oneself is always convincing over a matter which is really worth something?

    We never convince others of utter rubbish? Does that mean a whole currency can never essentially be usurped to support utter rubbish?

      • If you can see it’s utter rubbish to begin with, sure. Otherwise it’s an alter made of empty soda pop bottles, treated as something more than just that.

        But we’re always stuck in a ‘We’re in the know’ attitude, I guess. We have no sight for what we don’t know – for not knowing.

  3. Mikey says:

    You need validation from others, otherwise you’ve got nothing. You’d definitely give up on the slacks/tights theory if everyone thought it was stupid. It’s hard to think of an example of when this happens because thoughts that everyone thinks are stupid are anticipated and extinguished before they exist.

    Maybe punks and goths in the 19th century are like that. The idea of stitching bits of leather and chainmail together and wearing black and white makeup existed in the 19th century, but everyone would have thought it was a stupid idea, so no one did it. I guess no one even thought it because the idea was actually unthinkable.

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