The slogan of
Related to the “show me” attitude of the Congressman is the phrase “I will believe it when I see it” and “Seeing is believing”. All of these reflect a lack of trust by the person saying the phrase. It could be that the statement made is so unbelievable that the hearer doesn’t accept it or it could be a lack of trust in the other person.
There is another element in these phrases that need a closer look. “Seeing is believing” is actually an inaccurate phrase. We believe someone because we trust them. We have faith in them that they are telling the truth. For example, if someone tells me it is raining outside, I may go outside to see for myself. In that case I have no reason to believe the person who told me because I know for myself. Believing is based on accepting someone else’s words as factual or as the truth.
We also say that “perception is reality”. Perception involves not only the physical senses but also our intellect and feelings. Of course, what we have been taught and what we have read and remembered influences our perception. Advertisers are big on creating perceptions that people are willing to accept and act upon.
When we combine the phrase “seeing is Believing” and :perception is reality” we come to a dilemma. We tend to think that “seeing” something makes it real but we are too often accepting the “seeing” without question. This happens especially in groups that are bound together by codes, whether secret or public, creeds, and constitutions. People reinforce each other’s perception of reality. It also happens in a small group of friends or co-workers who talk about another person or their boss. This is especially damaging when the talking is to degrade the person.
This myiopic view of reality is especially dangerous when it is
practiced by our leaders. It is the only reason I can come up with that
explains President George W. Bush’s continue dclinging
to his policy on the war in
On the flip side of this phrase is one that is not as common. It says “believing is seeing”. I learned this in a religious setting. If I believe deeply enough in some theological truth, I will see that truth. What I believe will become reality for me. I thought that was fascinating idea. This is powerful in moving along life’s journey and achieving one’s goals.
On the negative side of this saying is someone believing in something that is not based in
reality. President George W. Bush provides us with another example. He believed prior to going to war in
“Believing is seeing” needs a dose of realism. Claims of fact need to be more carefully prepared so we don’t need to say “show me!” to our friends, co-workers, and leaders.