What if you knew a secret that the rest of the world needed to know? What if you could change lives with this knowledge? Would you share it with others?
Of course you would. If you saw a tornado coming, any normal person would warn others. If you knew of any danger which others couldn’t yet see, you would almost certainly do everything in your power to raise an alarm. You would tell others what was coming — and you’d warn them to escape the danger.
But what if others didn’t want to hear your warning? What if you knew that others wouldn’t listen? What if you realized they wouldn’t take you seriously — that they might even call you crazy?
If you had that knowledge in your mind — but you found that people around you wouldn’t listen — would you doubt yourself? Would you wonder whether you’re crazy? Would you throw your hands up in frustration and maintain a sullen silence — even though the coming storm seemed painfully obvious to you?
I believe in things I can’t see. You do, too. We might believe in different unseen things. We might have different reasons for coming to our beliefs, but at the very root of what we believe, we have some assumptions we make — because somebody has told us that something is true — and we build on those assumptions.
Your beliefs about unseen things might be based on what you have been taught to call science. You’ve been taught to believe in germs and atoms and electromagnetic forces. All modern people believe in those things.
We’ve been told that these things — and a million other things — explain our universe. We were taught that educated and intelligent people trust scientists and engineers and all sorts of other people who come up with theories and test those theories and then build technologies that change our lives.
But all of that is based on our belief in the accuracy of what we’ve been taught. Those things become such basic assumptions for us that we don’t even question whether they’re true.
Other people also believe in additional unseen things which they can’t prove. Some of us believe in God, even though we can’t prove there is any person or being or whatever you want to call it which we think of as God. For some of us, the existence of God feels just as obvious as the existence of wind or rain or dirt under our feet.
There are some things that we simply know in our bones to be true, even if we can’t prove it to anybody else.
My set of beliefs are probably different than yours are. Even if we both call ourselves Christians, for instance, your precise understanding of the nature of God and the nature of what we can know for sure might be slightly different.
And other people are absolutely certain of things that contradict my spiritual beliefs. Some people hold religious beliefs which conflict with my own. Others believe all sorts of things about the nature of reality which are completely different from my own.
Some people believe the world is flat. Some believe there are lizard-like aliens living among us. Others fervently believe in Bigfoot or one of a dozen other types of strange creatures. Some believe there are bizarre conspiracies that secretly rule our lives.
I question the intelligence and rationality of people who believe those sorts of things, but I’m well aware that there are plenty of people who question my intelligence and rationality for believing in God or for believing there’s anything beyond the material world.
Not all of what we believe is true. Some of what I believe is wrong. I simply don’t know which things I’m wrong about. Not yet. I might never understand the limits of my knowledge. But if I believe I know things which others need to hear, do I have a responsibility to share that? Even if they don’t want to hear?
I’m certainly no prophet. I don’t have a pipeline to God. I don’t have special knowledge about the truth of the Universe which isn’t also available to others.
No particular person owns truth, but there are many cases in which one person — and then another and another — discovers some particular truth before others. In human history, many of those people have been ridiculed or exiled or even killed for what they have discovered. (And some of those people have been wrong about what they believed, of course.)
I believe that I see some truths that our world needs to learn. I see them more clearly at some times than others. I sometimes allow myself to focus too much on the dysfunctional culture around me — and that often makes me lose sight of some truths I’ve discovered. The closer I allow myself to become to this culture, the more dimly I understand these things.
I haven’t yet figured out how to explain the truths which seem so urgent to me. When I try to explain, I struggle to find the words and images. I see others lose interest. I see my attempts to communicate these truths fail miserably. I end up wondering whether I should just remain silent — instead of struggling to find a way to finally explain what I know and make it clear to others who could benefit.
Ultimately, you will either connect with me or the truth I want to convey — or you won’t. And the truth is that most people won’t connect with what I’m trying to somehow get across. Most people won’t understand what I’m struggling to explain or why it matters. Most people’s eyes will continue to glaze over and think nothing of it.
But somewhere, there are people who understand — at least vaguely — the things which I’m trying to understand well enough to explain. There are a few who intuitively feel the truth of what I’m trying to share — who might even be excited and energized.
Somewhere, there is at least one person who can connect with my understanding of reality and say, “What a relief! I believe this, too! I thought I was the only one who understood it! We need to talk!”
I’ve talked before about how difficult it is to find a partner who shares enough of my peculiar view of the world to match with me — and this is another part of that difficulty. I need a partner who sees enough of the truth in what I have to share that it awakens something in her — enough to make her want to share my strange and difficult journey.
Most people aren’t going to understand. You almost certainly won’t understand. And that’s OK. I just need the right someone to somehow understand enough of the same things that I do — enough to say, “I believe in you — and maybe we could be part of this together.”
I’m struggling with the frustrations of seeing the world in a way that few others do. But I can’t shake my belief that I need to share things which others don’t want to hear.
I see dangers ahead for us all. My vision is dim and cloudy. But I see something that I know is real. I see something better than what’s offered by this dysfunctional culture. I go back and forth between wanting to shout it from the rooftops and wanting to remain silent and avoid the struggle.
I’ve finally accepted that I have to build my life with someone who understands this struggle and is willing to share it. And that knowledge makes me feel more alone than ever, because I know that all I have to say about what I see — in direct words or through art — will remain meaningless gibberish to almost everyone.
Note: I realize this is a serious departure from the things I typically write. I usually try to share things that can be useful or meaningful to others, but this was simply something I needed to say for myself. This one is more like publishing something from a personal journal. I hope you can forgive me for indulging my need to share this with the world, despite knowing it’s not for most people.