Wrong-Side-Up

Tabitha - Fort Wayne, Indiana
Entered on June 11, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

“Stop forcing your beliefs on me; there is no such thing as absolute truth,” my friend hissed at me.

At first, I felt like laughing, but this was no laughing matter. I was too astounded by the irony of her statement to give an immediate answer. Was she not attempting to make me accept her beliefs, which (ironically) said that there was absolutely no absolute truth?

Her hypocrisy made me realize a truth about human beings and their inability to keep themselves from self-deception. My friend clearly contradicted herself and she never saw it. She was in a hopeless delusion that no one could make her see.

This idea was further demonstrated to me when I learned about an aviation phenomenon called spatial disorientation. It usually occurs when a pilot flies in poor conditions and somehow turns the plane upside down. He cannot see the horizon, and he does not realize quickly enough what is going on. The result is often a fatal crash. The important thing to see in this occurrence is the fact that the pilot is convinced that nothing is wrong, that he is right side up. The clouds and things around him give him no reason to believe otherwise, and he simply can’t see the truth until it is too late.

The realization of this human trait was terrifying for me. Once I saw it, I saw it everywhere. I could no longer sit beside fans at a basketball game and ignore their strongly biased judgments of the officials because I knew that they really believed that they were right. Every place I went I was amazed by the hypocrisy and blindness. However, what scared me the most was me. I wondered if I would ever recognize my own delusions if “spatial disorientation” happened to me.

The one consolation I have found actually comes from the incident of spatial disorientation as well. The real reason that it occurs is because the pilot loses track of his flying instruments for too long. It seems, then, that the condition could be avoided if the pilot is careful not to rely on his own vision, but the aviation gages around him.

The only solution, therefore, to resisting self-delusion comes from the use of outside sources because humans generally cannot objectively see reality on their own. This has led me to believe that it is absolutely crucial for humans to rely on the One who knows reality completely and thoroughly because He created it. To fly through life without seeking the only perfect source of reliability would surely result in a fatal disaster.