08 January 2017

Believing is Seeing

I keep reading about the new understanding that people only allow in (to their lives, their minds, their outlooks, their consciousness) that which doesn't confront or contradict their belief system.

It's a sort of psychic safety mechanism against cognitive dissonance, and it is making it very difficult to educate those who don't understand — and don't want to understand — the climate change crisis. 

I experienced a funny incident the other day that not only proved this theory in myself, but also proved that believing is seeing. (So many people think the opposite is true, that seeing is believing.) 

I woke up early to get to a special event at work much earlier than usual. In the early morning darkness, I bid a silent goodbye to the shadowy lump in the bed next to me that was my husband and snuck down the stairs to get ready. I turned on several lights downstairs (including in the hallway and the bathroom, both near the guestroom) and as time passed and I had to quicken my pace, I started turning on more and more lights and making more and more noise — popping in and out of the guestroom to gather up items I'd put there the night before. 

Just before I left, I noticed that the dog had followed me downstairs and was snuggled up on the guestroom bed. When I went to pick her up to carry her back to the bedroom so she could snuggle with her "dad" instead, I tripped over a glass on the floor and noticed that my hubby had left his reading glasses and some writing paper scattered about as well. As I was making this racket, the dog climbed higher in the bed towards the pillows.

It wasn't until I leaned down to pick her up that my husband moved and scared the you-know-what out of me! I screamed, "What are you doing here? I saw you up in the bed, next to me."

"No," he responded, "I couldn't sleep but I didn't want to disturb you. So I snuck down here in the middle of the night to do some work, and then I fell asleep."

I'm sure he'd managed to fall back to sleep before I was even out the front door — but I didn't leave until I'd tiptoed up the stairs again to check out that bulge in my bed. Sure enough, it was just the way the blankets were heaped that looked like a human being sleeping there. Climate change is real after all ... I mean, that wasn't my beloved in the bed next to me in the morning, but because it's what I believed I saw when I got up in the very early dawn light, I just couldn't see him in the guestroom bed, even with all the lights on and the dog on top of him!

So folks, that's just one little personal anecdote, but I think I'm going to start diverting my attention and efforts to building coalitions with people and organizations and politicians already doing the good work to safeguard the future. I have a feeling the others just won't be able to see the climate change emergency until something happens to wake them up to its ravages.

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I would appreciate hearing your thoughts or questions on this post or anything else you've read here. What is your take on courage and compassion being an important part of the solution to the climate change emergency?