, , , ,

Hearsay is, “1. Unverified information heard or received from another; rumor 2. Evidence that is not within the personal knowledge of a witness, such as testimony regarding statements made by someone other than the witness, and that therefore may be inadmissible to establish the truth of a particular contention because the accuracy of the evidence cannot be verified through cross-examination.

The Jan 6 congressional hearings on the protest irk me six ways past Sunday for a variety of reasons, but I’m just going to address one. It’s all hearsay. Watching our leaders lead us so poorly, worse yet, watching them legitimize or validate “hearsay” is like just pouring fuel on the fires of ignorance. It’s just an abomination.

We already have a huge problem with hearsay in this country, meaning every lunkhead on the intertoobz now thinks he is in possession of the “facts” and submitting “evidence.” This is why we can’t even talk to one another. This is why we can’t discuss important issues. This is why there is so much division and hatred and a powerful allergy to engaging in any critical thinking skills.

I am not in favor of the “reality based community” and being in “possession of the facts” in part because I’ve watched that play out on the internet and the science based community for so long, that I’ve now concluded it’s mostly a bunch of bunk. Total hogwash.

A good 95% of those who think they are “forming a rational opinion based exclusively on the facts,” are actually just repeating hearsay and being ruled by emotion and tribal loyalties. Or ruled by tribal resistance.

Not everyone is as pedantic as I am, but in truth none of us can really testify that the Earth is round without basing that on complete hearsay. You heard it from someone else and you formed an opinion. It’s not “bad” to form an opinion or to have a belief system, but it is “bad” to not have the intellectual humility needed to recognize that you are simply repeating what someone else has told you and you have now made an emotional investment in that version of reality.

That is true of 90% of the things we think we know. “Don’t believe everything you think.” A good chunk of what you think isn’t even your own!

It is okay to share opinions, to form conclusions, to hold tight to a set of assumptions, and even to be emotionally invested in them. The thing to keep in mind is that hearsay is, “inadmissible to establish the truth of a particular contention because the accuracy of the evidence cannot be verified through cross-examination.

We then often proceed to whack one another over the head with what is really just inadmissible as evidence. So not facts, not evidence, not truth, not the “very definition of reality,” but simply emotionalized opinion at best, and gossip at worst.

We really need to learn to listen to what others have to say, for the sole purpose of understanding them. They may well be full of bunk, but the reason why we communicate is to understand another perspective, not to establish our personal dominion over reality and hoist our flag on the “truth.” To do so is to imply that you believe truth and to be so weak, so malleable, so unfixed, that it it is easily threatened by the opinions of others.