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Ramona’s Ramblings


Ramona Jan
Posted 5/7/24

I’m trying not to use the word “believe” anymore as in “I believe…” What does it matter what I believe? What I believe is not important, and may or may not be the …

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Ramona’s Ramblings



I’m trying not to use the word “believe” anymore as in “I believe…” What does it matter what I believe? What I believe is not important, and may or may not be the truth, anyway. My belief is basically just my opinion based on whatever I’m exposed to indirectly.

There is a stark difference between what I believe, and what I know. And I know very little and have, my whole life, believed in a whole lot.

Here’s some of what I know:

  1. How to thread a needle.
  2. How to drive a car.
  3. How to write a song.
  4. How to heat up leftovers
  5. How to put seeds in the ground.

I’ve been threading needles for over 50 years. I know how to thread a needle. To say, “I believe I can thread a needle” would be absurd. And so on down the list with cars, songs, leftovers, seeds, etc.

According to the Webster Dictionary today, the word “believe” means “to accept something as true, genuine, or real…” Accepting something as such is very different from knowing something to be true, genuine, or real. Let’s look at the Webster definition of the word, “believe”, from 1828:

To credit upon the authority or testimony of another; to be persuaded of the truth of something upon the declaration of another, or upon evidence furnished by reasons, arguments, and deductions of the mind, or by other circumstances, than personal knowledge. When we believe upon the authority of another, we always put confidence in his veracity…”

I was once a person very much persuaded by anyone who spoke with authority until I realized I was believing in things I never experienced directly. Some of those things turned out to be untrue even when I trusted the sources. I still trust some sources, but I take everything with a grain of salt now. Unless, I experience something directly, I no longer blindly believe. Instead, I take the information into consideration.

Here’s the definition of “experience” from the same dictionary: “1. the fact or state of having been affected by or gained knowledge through direct observation or participation. 2. practical knowledge, skill, or practice derived from direct observation of or participation in events or in a particular activity.” Note the word “direct” is used more than once.

There are many arguments today on what is true, and what is not. “Facts,” I’ve noticed, can even be found to bolster either side, and even change over time. Just pick up a set of old Encyclopedias and you’ll see.

I used to believe what felt right, or what was delivered by a legitimate source. Someone who wrote a book or for a renowned newspaper, or won awards. And then I’d dig my heels in on one side of an argument, and stop investigating. Now, I ask questions, read between the lines, and catch myself whenever I say, “I believe.” And whenever I do say, “I believe” I ask myself, “How do I know? Why do I believe? Was I actually there?”

And then there are the videos and photographs floating around on social media as well as in the news. Do they always tell the entire story? Could some be manipulated? (Never underestimate AI). When I explore these questions, I find myself saying, “I don’t know” more and more.

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what I believe. The truth is not in my hands, and will eventually reveal itself regardless of what anyone believes. In the meantime, I’ll stick with threading needles, driving cars, writing songs, heating leftovers and sowing seeds, and the rest of what I actually know through direct experience.


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