By Victoria Lynn Hall
Something Marianne Williamson said in her Keynote Address at the World Woman Summit in 2019 has stuck with me. She referenced a study she read that said in order to feel confident enough to share their opinion, women said they must feel 80% sure of their facts (while for men it was 20%).
I haven’t been able to locate that study and therefore can not speak to its veracity but I can tell you that when I heard that, I felt seen and less alone. Wow, so it isn’t just me, I thought (though 80% is a conservative estimate for me).
Truly, I don’t feel confident I know something until I know it inside out, back and forth and upside down. And even then, I know there’s always room to – not just know more – but reach constantly deepening levels of understanding, especially when it comes to human behavior and, as Williamson has also said, “All that politics should be is our collective behavior.’’
You could say that at the root of this need to know of mine is an insecurity – that it is due to the way women are treated in this society, or to my own upbringing in which I was often led not to trust my own reality – and you wouldn’t be wrong. Perhaps that is how it began, but through the years it has evolved into an innate sense of curiosity and a passion for learning that, by now, has fueled my confidence; the confidence, not that I am right about everything, but that I can trust my own experience and ability to discern the truth.
To me skepticism isn’t as much about not trusting “the experts” as it is about trusting myself more. It’s about not allowing someone else to define my reality – to tell me what to think or how to feel – and instead seeking out the facts and analyzing them for myself.
As you may imagine, this can be a lot of work at times but fortunately, through that work, I have found someone I have learned I can trust in Jesse. But don’t take my word for that or his word for anything because of that. Just be sure that you aren’t taking someone else’s word over it. Be sure that you aren’t dismissing what you hear because it doesn’t match up with what someone else says they know but because it doesn’t match up with your own investigation of the facts.
In today’s political and media climate, especially when it comes to matters of war or peace; life and death, I think it is important – no matter what sex we are or what class or party or group we belong to – that we are all as sure of our facts as we can be.
And I pray that by learning to be more skeptical of “the experts”, we will learn how to trust ourselves and each other so much more.
Update: Since recording this episode, The Empire Files put out this excellent report with Abby Martin that gives a succinct yet thorough explanation of the U.S. empire’s retreat in Afghanistan and its implications.
Visit Voices for Creative Non Violence, based in the UK, to learn how they are working to advance Afghan rights through non-military means.
Also consider a donation to Save the Children, who have been working in Afghanistan since 1976 to deliver lasting change to the lives of children across the country.
Jesse talks about the late American scholar of Russian studies, Stephen F, Cohen, and how his reputation in mainstream circles was smeared because he challenged media narratives about Russia. Aaron Mate’ goes into this more in the introduction to this interview:
I spoke of the Wonderland Campaign by Kerri Romeo and how it introduces curiosity into political discourse. Learn more on the Wonderland Campaign landing page.
I mentioned this article by Alan Macleod for Fair.org: Support the Tropes –
How media language encourages the left to support wars, coups and intervention
Jesse brought up the 2002 Bush Administration National Security Report that was put out between 9/11 and the invasion of Iraq.
He also spoke of Barack Obama’s mother and her involvement in CIA connected efforts involving micro finance. He goes more into that in this previous solo podcast: The CIA and Obama.
Watch/listen to our full episode below or on YouTube where you can subscribe to all of our video content.
A Los Angeles native, Jesse Crall graduated from UCLA’s English Department before working as a copywriter, script reader and project manager for an engineering firm.
A self taught artist and creative entrepreneur, Victoria Lynn Hall lives in the Kansas City area with 4 spoiled cats. She believes in art and the magic of kindness.