I’m going to be starting a new series on shitty advice, this being the first post in the category. I’ll be covering shitty advice I’ve received, overheard, or read, from people I know and from famous quotations.
This first post will focus on the latter. Here it is, from animator Walt Disney:
“When you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way, implicitly and unquestionably.” – Walt Disney
Now the reason I have a bone to pick with this quotation should be fairly obvious: it basically goes against everything I and this shoddy blog stand for. Unless you live in Disneyland where everything is magic and rainbows and unicorns, unquestioning belief is a dangerous thing.
It doesn’t even take much analysis to see why this is, really shitty advice. I mean, have you ever argued with someone who believes something unquestionably? I think there’s a word for that, or a few words for that. Stubborn, pigheaded, extremist, close-minded, shallow, and ignorant, among other things. Here’s my counter offer.
“Never believe anything unquestionably, unless its negation is a logical impossibility.” – Me.
Short of the cogito reasoning, there isn’t much you should believe unquestionably. You should always remain open minded and be willing to hear the opposition’s arguments and challenges to your beliefs, otherwise you’ll never know when you’re wrong. Openness is key to learning and advancement, and as I’ve said everywhere on this blog, THAT’S what I’m after, and what we all ought to be after.
I’ll leave you with another counter offer from Buddha that has been living on my desk in magnet form for the last (at least) 4 years.
“Believe nothing, no matter where you read, it or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.” – Buddha