I originally saw this video on Mentalfloss, and if you have never visited Mentalfloss, you should leave this blog right now and go experience that wonderful site.
Now, if you haven’t slipped down a black hole of knowledge there, and you are back reading this blog, then I need you to watch this video. And turn your sound on. (I know, I know. I’m asking a lot of you today.)
For some reason, this video really stuck with me. For one, the woman sounds exactly like a Disney princess. So, it is basically like a Disney princess doing acid. For another, you don’t know who to feel sorry for: the doctor who does not understand “reality,” or the woman who can’t put “reality” into words. The entire thing is a bit unsettling.
But not for the reasons that you might think. It’s not unsettling because the woman has ingested an hallucinogenic drug. And it’s not unsettling that we, like voyeurs, are watching her attempt to understand the world around her.
It’s the skeptic tone in the doctor’s voice that is so strange. She even notes that his presence does not allow her to become “one” with everything. I know that he is trying to be a good scientist. He is trying to get an objective account of what she is seeing. But for some reason, I felt that I had heard a voice like his before.
And I realized that I had. It came from everyone in the world who ever refused to believe in what someone was saying. I started to realize that the woman was just anyone who had ever had an opinion, a dream, or an idea. And the man was someone who did not believe in the sanctity of that opinion, dream, or idea. You will notice in the video that he does not move to ease her discomfort when she is completely confused about why he can’t see beautiful colors or shapes in the corner. He does not try to make her feel better by telling her that he sees it, too. He simply allows her to think whatever she wants. And she’s visibly frustrated by his non-reaction.
This is the dynamic of the entire world. One person understands and sees a reality unlike the rest of us. And other people don’t understand. Other people are technically not even on the same plane. Other people are confused or bothered by our perception of the world.
But that doesn’t mean you should stop believing. It doesn’t mean you should stop describing what you understand. Whether it be religion, equality, or your own success. Like this woman, you need to be strong in your conviction, even in the face of people who literally do not share your vision.
You have to understand that this woman truly believes in what she is seeing. Her fear is real. Her wonder is real. Her love is real. The only question is: can you say the same of yourself?