“That it is Folly to Measure Truth and Error by Our Own Capacity” by Montaigne

We often think only stupid people believe in crazy shit. Normally developed minds tend to resist wild beliefs. Perhaps an uneducated mind can’t discern rational from irrational and likely from unlikely. But throwing things out as utterly impossible is silly too because there’s plenty that even the smartest of us doesn’t understand. I used to mock people who believe in witchcraft, ghosts, miracles, etc. But I go more lightly on them even though my rational side tells me not to. When we decide that this is true and that is not true, we are claiming knowledge about the nature of truth as if we are above it or have a deep understanding of it. That’s bad especially when we show ourselves to be wrong so often.

A man who’s never seen a river before might think that he’s looking at the sea. But later on, experience will usually (hopefully) let him know that he’s wrong. When we see people believing in wild shit, let’s give them the chance to turn it around – a chance for that experience to kick in before we criticize them.

History books are full of stories that never happened or are recorded wrong. People have learned of victories before they happen and the sequence of events ends up being completely out of order. We shouldn’t really lay into Plutarch just because we got facts that dispute his claims many years after he had written.

It’s arrogant to treat others with contempt for what we don’t even understand ourselves. You probably believe in wilder shit than the stuff you criticize others for believing. We shouldn’t criticize others religions, beliefs and denominations when our own beliefs are every bit as crazy as theirs. Think about the contradictions in your beliefs before you attack others for their crazy beliefs.

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