Sunday, March 6, 2011

Lifting the Fog

Yesterday, I spoke of the fog.

If one is in unfamiliar territory and blinded by fog it may feel as if the edge is an inch away in any or all directions. This does not feel like an edge. It feels like a ledge and it is crippling. People fall off of ledges unless they are rescued, after all. Either way, ledges rob one of feeling in control. It’s a helpless feeling.


Of course I’m using the fog metaphorically here. So, in reality, what makes up this fog? What is crippling about the fog is not the actual existence of a ledge, but instead the possibility of the existence and nearness of a ledge. The fog makes this possibility more anxiety provoking. It could be anywhere. It holds us down, makes action of any sort too risky. It thwarts coping.

So, how do we come to the thought of the possibility of a ledge? 2 ways, logic and belief. With logic, we reason that given one thing is true the logical conclusion is that other things will be true as well. As I tend toward the critical rational side, this realm is familiar and favorable for me. However, if that initial “truth” upon which our logic is based is errant, then all logical conclusions based upon it will be errant as well. When this is the case, there are logical ways to lift the fog. Providing evidence that makes the error clear, then progressively rebuilding the context through logical reasoning will make one aware that what has pinned them to the ledge is not present after all.

The fog of reason is the fog of working from bad information. The way out of this fog is critical rationalism.

Then there’s the tough one; belief. Belief is based on faith. No amount of reasoning will talk a person out of their faith because it has no authority in that realm. The saying holds true, “Don’t try to reason someone out of a position that they didn’t reason themselves into in the first place.” The problem is that it is not often clear when a person is working from belief or logic.

The fog of faith is the fog of working from maladaptive beliefs. The way out of this fog is through evangelism.

Evangelism occurs through cultural change, the mind of the majority, and its tools range from testimonial to social support to group think. It is therefore a slippery slope and to be treaded carefully and responsibly or not at all, in my opinion.

I’d love to hear thoughts on this.

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