How We Became Fallibilists . . .


We love to learn and can always be found reading or watching something that adds to our understanding of people and the world. One of our favorite places to learn is with The Teaching Company. The Teaching Company audio and video tapes the very best university professors in the country. If you like to learn, you’ll definitely want to check it out.

Anyway, one of our favorite topics is philosophy. So, we purchased some courses that sounded interesting and one of the professors was this brilliant guy from the University of Texas with a really strong Southern accent named Rick Roderick. And he said something that has never left us and to which we have subscribed as our own philosophy ever since. (Unfortunately, Rick passed away in 2002 and I’m not sure his courses are any longer available.)

Because of Rick, we consider ourselves to be "fallibilists". And what exactly is a fallibilist you might well ask?

A fallibilist is someone who believes what they believe passionately and with all their might. At the same time, they recognize that the world is ever changing and that humanity’s understanding of the world is continually growing. Fallibilists recognize that their knowledge and understanding of the world is necessarily limited. In the pursuit of ongoing learning and education, it is not uncommon to move into such greater understanding and wisdom that your previous view of things is revealed to be flawed or limited. Upon such discovery, it’s smart to embrace the newer, deeper, broader, higher, wiser comprehension and abandon the former.

The reason I am sharing this with you, dear Reader, is to hopefully shed light on our thinking processes and help you understand where we are coming from.

Perhaps you’ve seen those bumper stickers that say, "Question Authority"? Well, that applies to all you read here or in any of our publications. That just seems like a good practice in general. Another bumper sticker you see around here in Santa Fe says, "Don’t believe everything you think." I take that to mean we should at all times question our own thinking, perceptions and interpretations.

Something we stress in our work is what we call TFBR – think, feel, believe, remember. We all have our own thoughts and feelings, things we believe and things we remember. A problem often occurs when we hold these things as the TRUTH rather than simply what we think, feel, believe and remember. Which may or may not be the truth.

What this comes down to, in a way, is the willingness to be wrong. Relinguishing the need to be right. That’s often easier said than done in our culture. To some extent it comes from an educational system that values correct answers on tests rather than the ability to reason and think clearly.

In any case, you can count on us to passionately express our own truth and experience. You can also count on us to be open to questioning our current understanding, whatever it may be, in favor of something superior that adds to the body of enlightenment and well-being. We don’t always have to be right and we’re ever willing to "live in the question".

Paul


2 responses to “How We Became Fallibilists . . .”

  1. Your blog is just so timely. Becoming congruent with change and realising the need for flexibility as part of growth is so well put. Thank you.
    Loved the podcast. So often we assume that our partner should just know what we want and vice versa. Most of us are not at the point of refined telepathic communication as yet!

  2. What a helpful podcast on getting what you want. First, as you point out, is knowing yourself, what your needs are (see Paul and Layne’s handy down-loadable “What’s the Future of Your Relationships”), and next is how to use loving communication to help your partner understand that just because you need something, the partner hasn’t failed when they don’t have a clue!! My spouse says that if he needs a user guide then it isn’t really love (well–but ESP isn’t foolproof either). This comes from the “You’re only a good boy when you can anticipate my needs” school of man-raising. This brings up another important tip: to look at the foundations of your being. How did your original family members get their needs met? with ranting, raving, complaining, blaming, criticizing? If so, chances are, you’re going to come across with the same eroding communication techniques (or non-communication techniques, as I have employed over time). Great blog–thanks for starting it up.

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