“He doesn’t want to know anything about his god… It would mean he staked it all on something and was wrong, and some people just don’t deal well with the thought that they tried and failed.”
– Thom, An Inheritance of Ashes, by Leah Bobet
When Thom says this, he is talking specifically about a man named Asphodel Jones. Jones had been called a prophet of a Dark God, and he was the leader of a group of rabid cultists who worshiped this intangible force which was laying waste to the world merely by its presence. However, the “dark god” in question was just a very large creature that had gotten stuck between two worlds and was dying as a result, slowly and painfully. The destruction surrounding its suffering was entirely incidental, not at all deliberate, and certainly not wrought by some kind of dark, divine will. It was just a poor, unfortunate creature that was unable to help itself.
And yet Jones and his followers just can’t accept the truth. Some say the truth is hard and unforgiving, but it’s people who seem more unable to forgive, both others and themselves. They can’t deal with the failure that they put everything they had into what they believed, and were wrong. They sacrificed and suffered and did great harm for the sake of something greater, but they were wrong, and that is a painful thing to admit, let alone accept and live by. So, instead, Jones is rabid in his zealotry and refuses to listen to any evidence that proves him wrong, because it proves that he did wrong.
That is what people get like when they are faced with the possibility that this higher cause, this higher purpose and power, to which we have dedicated ourselves like good people should… is, in fact, imperfect. Or outright wrong. Or even a bare-faced lie that we have swallowed. When faced with that, we tend to entrench ourselves, shutting our eyes and ears and minds against everything that does not match what we already believe.
I have been much frustrated by this in many a discussion, especially in regards to politics. Or, rather, what I wanted to be a discussion, but mostly turned into me stating my perspective and being completely dismissed, ignored, and insulted. After all, I have dared to question the political “god,” so to speak, by which they have lived their lives.
That holds true on all sides of the political aisle. I want to be clear about that: it’s not just one side or the other that needs to pull their collective heads out of their collective butts.
Heck, it holds true for most anything people can be devoted to, from politics, to religion, to sports teams, to fashion, to boy bands, to fandoms anime, comics, Marvel, DC, Superman, Batman, Star Wars, Star Trek, and pretty much everything else. It is insane all the things we are ready to tear each other apart over.
Why? Why are we like this?!
There is something about people that makes us unwilling to acknowledge when we are wrong. It’s like we think we have to be perfect in order for our views to be valid, that if we are wrong once, we are always wrong on everything, and if we are right once, about one thing, then that means we are always right.
That could not be further from the truth.
Everybody is wrong about something. Everybody is right about something. Everybody fails. Everybody sometimes bets on the wrong horse. Everybody is imperfect. And everybody’s perspective is valid.
We may want to always be right, and never be wrong, but that will never happen, not for anyone, ever. What we need, then, is the ability to allow ourselves to be wrong, so we can admit that we have been mistaken and move on with our lives together.
We must always question the validity of what we value, the truth of what we are staking everything on. After all, if we are staking everything, then we have the right to do exactly that, to ask questions and get answers, don’t we?
It is our right and our responsibility to know our “god.”