"What I’m saying is nobody’s opinions are correct. In the world. And yet, it’s impossible not to tie your opinions to your concept of self. And often, people tie those things so closely together that they begin defending their guesses as if they’re defending their very lives. In a way, they are.
This is why it can be so impossible to talk about certain topics with certain people. They’ve tied those suppositions to themselves so tightly with knots of narrative and constructed reality and values that there’s just no untying it. And maybe, unsurprisingly, in those situations the best course of action is just to be friends. Maybe even ask them about that thing that they’ve created because, to them, as it is to all of us, it’s immensely valuable.
The world as we perceive it, as we’ve built it inside of ourselves, is a lie that we tell to ourselves, not out of deception, but out of necessity. We have no other choice. We simply cannot understand the world as it is. And so, we construct, and it’s a useful construction. And it allows us to do many amazing things, but sometimes I just have to tell myself the thing that is definitely true, the truest things I can say, which is that I don’t know.
“If I judged aright my mother’s tearful mirth as she repeated the line—‘You’re a brute!’—she was harkening back to a vindication that echoed through the decades, born in an eight-year-old Tennessee bookworm’s hunger to see familial injustices acknowledged and amended.”