Believe is Personal, Knowledge is Universal

Believe is Personal, Knowledge is Universal

Belief is personal. It doesn’t require validation or proof. It’s a product of emotion, feeling, of “common sense”. What seems right or true. Belief is resistant to change, and impervious to challenges based on observed facts.

Knowledge has developed over time by observation. It’s a model of how the world works. It can be used to solve problems or improve lives. Knowledge is not absolute. It’s fluid and everchanging. It responds to and incorporates new information. Knowledge is true because it works.

Humanity’s journey from primitive to modern has been largely due to the steady displacement of belief by knowledge. And over the last 100 years the rate of change has been revolutionary and disruptive. Challenges to long held beliefs can be personally upsetting, and may threaten vested interests or those in power.

The commercialization of national news outlets and the emergence of social media has blurred the boundary between knowledge and belief. Traditional debate, based on an exchange and discussion of ideas, has been replaced by broadcast of talking points designed to win converts and vilify the opposition. There is no need for truth, and alternate facts are manufactured as needed. Belief is unassailable, immune to any challenge.

Communities or organizations based on belief are viable when membership is voluntary, but our democracy can’t survive in this environment. Citizenship is based on geography and citizens are only willing to sacrifice their personal autonomy for the greater good if decisions are seen as fair and equitable. In the absence of a shared reality there can be no consensus.

Wear this shirt to declare your rejection of grievance and conspiracy and your belief in knowledge-based decision making. Start a conversation. Make a difference.


Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.