—–I enter the conversation at the point where something is in dispute, a topic is rolling, being handed around, and now one person has been spurred on, forced to state a position, and into venturing what they believe.  I have been watching them talk, and when I see this eruption, gluing the participants to the issue, such as they see it!, and when I see that someone has decided to defend a point, has their hackles up, is likely unpracticed, but has only been surrounded by an unfortunate assembly, which they must have misjudged–or whatever, when I see this is going on, that’s when I step in, knowing my own skills and authority.  And I always take the side of a person who is defending themselves, precisely because they are always speaking to their own beliefs.  I do this, regardless of what those beliefs are. I say, regardless of what those beliefs are, as first perceived by me or any and all of the others.  Deep sympathy lay within me for anyone who believes, for they have a heroic nature and it has not been spoiled. I reserve the right, and the ability perhaps, to improve the content of this belief, but that is totally relative. Belief is the main thing, and one must have it, or wither away. So I make this initial effort, and defend the believer, I am ready even before they are embarrassed and forced, by unfair charges, to defend themselves. I take the side of undaunted naivete, rather than your up-to-the minute jeering. I extend my hand to the hopeful but factually ill-supplied, to the downright deluded, and make swiftly and brilliantly to rationalise their hardly stated beliefs, such as they exist in any initial stuttering. No matter how it looks to the others, or even how difficult it looks to me, I do this through several exchanges, through several rounds in the debate, maybe several rounds of drinks, as the whole party succumbs to giddy confusion . . .
—–For I need to see how long the one who spoke up from the basis of belief can last. Belief itself being heroic, and the linchpin of thought itself, I argue to myself once again.
—–Lately, it is supposed, the facts of reality do not support these inherited notions. Consecutive thinking does not allow for intrusions of images that conflict with the topic as stated in the curriculum of the brain. Need a diagram? Old fashioned reason did away with the ghost of belief in anything not findable in a ditch, at least . . . a hundred and fifty years ago! Miracles were mirages of ignorant people, count on it, says the scornful opposition to anyone who ventures a belief in something that smacks of, well, a belief in something. Facts are facts.
—–So here I go, I take the side of the believer, and argue that perhaps he has not expressed his belief clearly enough, or to their liking–this crowd of harpies.  And besides, what do facts, which, by the way, rarely are in fact facts, have to do with beliefs, anyway? Belief  is established, or has it’s source in pure emotion, I say. Everybody is ready for that one. They pounce on it. Well, sure! That is all they are, emotions! This is where I am shouted down by the group which has become, I hate to say it, very emotional.
—–“Cool your heels,” I say. Meanwhile the guy who started this seems to have disappeared. He took his belief with him, and went off to sulk in a corner; or maybe he went home to consult the oracle. Oh, no, wait, here he is. And no longer flumoxed. Standing on his beliefs, which are yet to be fully elucidated!, has produced in him a great calm. He is a port in a storm. And I don’t feel he has given me anywhere near the credit I deserve for defending him. So I turn on him. “Look smart,” I tell him, “don’t think you are off the hook.”  He looks hurt, but that doesn’t fool me.
—–“We have not yet examined what you actually think,” I tell him.
—–Of course I know we will never get to that. Every conversation these days is a process of being pushed around, then backing up, and then fighting your way out of the ditch you have fallen into. It is an experience! It becomes abstract! And this is always exactly when, and why, the music turns itself up, and a totally distracted air comes over everyone.  Like so many countable survivors of a shipwreck we are, rocking and lost in some slow dance.