Say what you believe, do not insist, be open: A paradox

Say what you believe. Do not insist that it is so. Surrender in openness.

Can any sense be made of these three statements, of this apparent paradox?

Yes. ‘I believe that P’: this is where we begin.

You do not claim to know that P. You do not insist that P must be the case. (When you say that P, you add, ‘but I may be wrong.’) So, we inquire to discover: is it true that P?

As we inquire, we surrender in openness. Could it be Q? Or R? We ease into the otherwise.


A case may illustrate the three-fold character of stating what you believe, of not insisting that it is so, and of being open to whatever comes to pass.

You believe that X is the best way to proceed with this business project. But you do not know that X, and you could be wrong about X. We inquire about X, both of us being open to the possibility of Y or Z, etc. It turns out that X is not the best way to proceed. We discover that Y is.

We affirm the conclusion Y.

And… we begin again with another question by saying what you believe, by not insisting that it is so, and by being open to whatever comes to pass as the line of inquiry unfolds…