Tag Archives: Rational Thinking

The Litany of Gendlin

This post was written in Russian mainly because there is no translation of the Litany of Gendlin available for the Russian-speaking crowd. For my English-speaking visitors I highly recommend reading this article by Eliezer Yudkowsky: “Avoiding Your Belief’s Real Weak Points”. You can read it after or instead of my little post here.

Striving for rationality, we must check our beliefs against reality all the time, rejecting and shifting them according to the evidence.

This is absolutely unnatural. The natural reaction of a normal person is the opposite: to protect our beliefs with all we have, rejecting and altering the evidence to fit our beliefs.

The fear is what drives us. The fear of appearing as stupid, light-headed, unreliable person. The fear of acknowledging to ourselves that a large part of our life went down the drain because of some wrong beliefs about the world. The fear of uncertainty, of having no firm ground to stand. Just the raw fear without any reason — the kind of fear fostered by most cults and ideologies in their followers.

Don’t ever forget that your beliefs are only as valuable as they correspond to the reality. If your beliefs don’t match the evidence — throw them away without any fear or regret. These beliefs were garbage anyway.

The Litany of Gendlin really helps sometimes:

What is true is already so.
Owning up to it doesn’t make it worse.
Not being open about it doesn’t make it go away.
And because it’s true, it is what is there to be interacted with.
Anything untrue isn’t there to be lived.
People can stand what is true,
for they are already enduring it.

Eugene Gendlin