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SCOT BELLAVIA: How Can You Believe That?

There are two especially absurd outlooks on personal consciousness that I keep a close watch on. But they may only be absurd because I fall in the dead center of their extremes.

They are pressing dangers to society because they both promote an unsound worldview. But they may be more dangerous in my mind because one person subscribing to them is too many. And because I keep a close watch on them, I am aware of dozens of their adherents.

Their illogic and overpopulation compound my fear of what harm they may cause.

Trivially put, they are my biggest pet peeves. Seriously put, I want to wage intellectual war against their influence.

I will now list them – for clarity’s sake – but not contend with them, because I already have and because here I’m explaining how it is that people can actively purport that which I staunchly disbelieve.

  1. Youth around me believe their latest revelation is final, leading them to mock the beliefs of elders, which they consider outmoded.
  2. Meanwhile, elders have held to their convictions of their youth, ones that have proven themselves over decades. The elders in turn mock the thoughts of youth, which they consider ungrounded.

I perceive this interplaying dichotomy so clearly and disagree so vehemently with both outlooks, appealing to absolutes rather than personal insight to tell me what is; how is it no one agrees with me?

I’ve presented my take to youth and elders alike, but I’ve been repeatedly rebuffed. They won’t consider my input because to adopt it would upend the way they see the world. But am I refusing to hear them out by writing an article about why they’re wrong?

This is the essence of every disagreement: if you knew what I know, you’d agree with me.

I see three explanations for why others aren’t as perceptive as I am when it comes to my analysis of the above generational discord.

One, I don’t have the social influence for the countless who commit these errors to hear me correct them.

Next, I must consider that I’m wrong. That’s a big pill to swallow, but I’ve got to be willing to taste my own medicine. I eagerly want to challenge others’ thinking so they’ll live in step with what I perceive as reality. But do I actually listen to them when they are doing the same?

Lastly, and most acutely, perhaps an elder sees my worldview as as much at odds with the youth as I see the elder’s to be. Conversely, a youth may contrast my conclusion with the elders’, as I have them. Perhaps I’ve only arrived at my conclusion because the elders and youth have drawn their lines in the sand where they have.

It’s hard to know, really, and probably even harder to read.

These outlooks, better summarized as both sides of the chronological snobbery coin, are my personal banes. Many may agree this is a more insignificant hill to die on than are the taboos of the Thanksgiving table. But I’ve made it my mission to tamp them wherever they arise, because I see them as foundational presuppositions that guide how the youth and elders approach those unmentionables.

You may have a vendetta with the fashion industry or what others think is a conspiracy theory you consider fact. In those conversations where you hold staunch opinions, remember, you’ve placed those who disagree with you on a scale as either too conservative or too radical, and they’ve done the same with you.

Scot Bellavia

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