I find those with convictions to be unconvincing. You’ll find them all over the place – in politics, in your workplace, in your churches and in your social circles. Many are so certain that their point of view is correct that they not only stop questioning the world around them, they proselytize to convince others to stop questioning and to start accepting their convictions.
The world is a fascinating place and our place in this world is far from certain. Life is full of ambiguity. It is full of nuance. Rarely is a person of conviction correct, because the answer is rarely “the” answer.
I have no problem with those who live by their convictions, since in reality convictions underlie every action and choice ever made by any person ever. Some may be put off by the word “conviction”, but synonyms include morals, guiding principles, teachings, paradigms, beliefs, conscience. Where my concern arises is that the longer those convictions remain unquestioned or even unexamined, the more convinced we become of their correctness while simultaneously the more disconnected from reality we become.
In reality, there are multiple acceptable solutions to any given problem, and in most cases, we won’t know whether the answer we have chosen was “right” until a choice has been made, consequences have followed and a post-mortem is performed. My view is not limited to discrete “problems” and “solutions”, but is also broadly applicable to the ways in which we think, act and live – whether we have lived “correctly” will perhaps not often be questioned or answered until we are at the end.
We often focus much on the most visible part of the process – the end result, which may be an arrived-at solution, a decision made or a chosen lifestyle. The less visible part is perhaps more important and it is on this that I focus – the process used to arrive at the end result. Do we simply move forward by our convictions without much thought as to why or do we move forward in a thoughtful, reasoned and deliberate manner? Do we choose our convictions or were they chosen for us? Do we act or are we acted upon?
For my part, I wish to go through life with my eyes wide open.