If you live in Asheville, odds are you’ve been privy to a numbing number of ‘I believe’ bumper stickers and yard signs. Mind if one suggests it is a misstep to believe those who thus believe?
The ‘I believe’ script typically references Black Lives Matter, Women Are Humans, No Person Is Illegal, Love Is Love, Science Is Real or something thereabouts.
Hard to argue with those creative mission statements, but there is one snaggy problem. Those things may be real, but the people promoting those things frequently aren’t.
Mankind’s ability to corrupt racial equality, equal rights, immigration policy, gender realities, science and everything else is exponentially unbelievable.
Part of the reason tracks to a remarkable human attachment to imagery over actuality. Is it not ironic that in our amazing age of information, the truth is harder to harvest than uranium? Rather than dig for the truth, most of us settle for comfort words marketed like cerebral Twinkies.
For a clue on what might be real, pick up a coin.
There are two sides to that coin and, depending on your direction of view, you will see something different than those looking from another angle.
This visual offers a glimpse into why our America has become so antagonistically divided. Most of us think we have the market cornered on wisdom and are satisfied to lovingly gaze at our side of the coin and — wait for it — believe.
There are exceptions.
Occasionally, there are those with the courage and conviction to live on the outside of the coin. You know, the tiny edgy part that unannouncedly serves as a bridge to the truths on either side.
Such people are rare for the reasons good and noble people have always been rare. It’s hard to live outside of habituated social norms and the comfort-food thinking that goes with those beliefs.
Truly edgy people understand that honest progress is a demanding mistress. She could give a whit about what we believe. She is very much invested in the truth in what we do.
— Carl Mumpower
Editor’s note: The writer notes that he is a practicing psychologist and former Asheville City Council member. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.