The questions begs asking: Why can’t people just believe whatever makes them happy?
We live in a time where the notion of truth is treated like a fancy. Some like it, others do not, who really cares?
There is something wholly silly about not believing what is true simply because I fancy to believe in something different. Perhaps this view can be forgiven, for knowing what is true is not always simple and straightforward.
The question remains, if you knew what was true, beyond a doubt, would you not be inclined to believe it no matter how contrary to your own current beliefs it was?
If your answer to that question is no, I would find that profoundly curious. If your answer is yes, this bodes well, for this discussion may continue.
We are all forced to believe in the existence of a table we’ve just walked into.
The person who claims that the table does not exist will only walk into it again, causing no small discomfort.
Each person may believe that the table exists or not: why couldn’t they hold this belief so long as they are happy? I cannot help but suggest: who cares what people want to believe, we can all recognize that the table does exist.
It is plain that fact is not a matter of opinion. It never has been and it never will be.
No amount of forceful mental exertion will ever alter a fact.
I will also go one full step further and say that knowing truth is fundamentally a profound and joyful experience, and likewise knowing lies is tragic.
The reason people cannot just believe what they want so long as it makes them happy is that the truth sets us free, and lies do not.
In order to believe that all people firm in their beliefs are happy requires that we never dig any deeper than the surface level of things.
For the person who dares to venture deeper into the hearts, the wounds, the psyche of the everyday person, they will find great sorrow and confusion mixed alongside joys and love. After a little further experience they will discover that some have far more pain than joy, and others far more love than confusion.
If you go into an intense discussion with someone like a neo-Nazi who still believes that the non-Aryans are to be exterminated, you will find great hatred being the source of this lie. This person will no doubt claim they have the truth and that this truth has set them free. It is simple to recognize that they have been sold a lie and that this lie has poisoned their reason.
As a direct result his joy will be diminished, his love decrepit, and everything that could hold meaning will be lost to him.
That is an extreme example but one important reality cannot be ignored:
In as much as our beliefs are based on lies we will discover pain and confusion.
In as much as our beliefs are based on truths, we will discover, inevitably, peace and joy.
So you can see, it is always in our best interest to embrace truth and not lies.
Why then has our culture, or society, abandoned truth and chosen personal whim instead?
Here is a complicated question that is not easy to answer.
I argue that we all still truly want truth, we’ve just become jaded to the multiplicity of claims in the world.
Which one of us has not been deceived at one time or another?
This is a painful experience which makes us more hesitant to trust again. It seems a universal mistrust in anything not proven in a laboratory has overcome our ability for clear thinking.
Some may argue that this is just fine, but I argue that those who ignore all truth not discovered within the scientific method will inevitably miss the most profound, joyful, enlightening, and meaningful moments life has to offer.
They are free to encourage their own willful ignorance of all else there is to know, but I strongly recommend a different course of action.