You Can’t Tell People Anything

Over the last few years, I’ve come to a fundamental belief: you cannot tell people anything. Coming to a new belief means you need all the infrastructure for that belief, and it generally means giving up other beliefs. It’s rare for people to do that without a lot of preparation, and in most instances, the person has to do that work on their own.

There are exceptions that prove the rule. While in school or in some kind of training environment, we go in with the understanding that we are ignorant of a topic, and we listen to “experts” who will give us the foundations that will lead to education, or a new set of beliefs. Outside of these contexts, I think people aren’t open to hearing what is being said to them. Makes me remember that bit from Mr. Rogers, where he says, roughly paraphrased, that people never change unless in dialog with people who love them.

2 thoughts on “You Can’t Tell People Anything

  1. I’ve always thought of it the other way around: I have no ability to convince anyone of anything, taking upon myself the weakness instead of projecting onto others armored thinking. Perhaps it’s also true that by changing the subject to myself, I’m selfishly positioning myself as some sort of arbiter. The infrastructure or scaffolding needed to understand complex is acknowledged.

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