I Believe I Know
Believing you know something is different to knowing that you know. Believing you know something is also different to knowing that you believe. When knowledge and belief go head to head in a fight for supremacy, which one emerges victorious? Do you know the winner is belief or do you believe the answer is knowledge? T hen again, you could believe the winner is belief or just know that knowledge prevails.
The winner is belief, which raises another important question. Why does ‘tis nobler continually emphasise that effort is essential?
As learners or changers, our default position is paradoxically the status quo. We often go through the motions for this ensures that there is no motion involved. It’s comfortable enough right here; the best way to stay where we are is to go around in small circles, the appearance of effort sufficient to avoid the presence of progress. We will go to great lengths to protect our beliefs and the best way to achieve this is to ‘stand still’.
We are not rational information processors, neither are we consistent and predictable logicians. Most everything is at the mercy of subjectivity and we are naturally at the very heart of the ‘problem’ for we are our own and our only subject. We go to great lengths to protect our beliefs; however, in the face of direct and contradictory evidence, surely it is reasonable to assume that we incorporate this information, revise and adapt.
But we don’t do this. In fact, information ‘confrontation’ doesn’t just encourage us to protect our beliefs by refusing to move from where we are for it serves to strengthen our beliefs. This can see us set off in a direction opposite to where we should be heading. Information ‘confrontation’, which should be a source of learning and a motivation for change, can often be a hindrance to both. Being exposed to information that should boost often backfires:
This is another example of why effort is essential. Experiential learning and behavioural change can and do present ongoing challenges; both are made more difficult by the subordination of knowledge to belief. The ongoing resistance to new knowledge that is inconsistent with our beliefs may be the single greatest reason why we stand still or go backwards.
And yet all the time we still believe we’re moving forward. Can you believe that?