Trying to Try
There's a familiar story - maybe you’ve heard it - a story about a proud young man who came to Socrates asking for knowledge. He walked up to the muscular philosopher and said, "O great Socrates, I come to you for knowledge."
Socrates led the young man through the streets of the town - down to the sea - and chest deep into water. Then he asked, "What do you want?"
"Knowledge, O wise Socrates," said the young man with a smile.
Socrates put his strong hands on the man's shoulders and pushed him under. Thirty seconds later Socrates let him up. "What do you want?" he asked again.
"Knowledge," the young man sputtered, "O great and wise Socrates."
Socrates pushed him under again. Thirty seconds passed, thirty-five. Forty. Socrates let him up. The man was gasping. What do you want, young man?"
Between heavy, heaving breaths the fellow wheezed, "Knowledge, O wise and wonderful..."
Socrates jammed him under again. Forty seconds passed. Fifty. "What do you want?"
"Air!" he screeched. "I need air!"
"When you want knowledge as you have just wanted air, then you will have knowledge."
Can you choose to try harder than you actually are? Isn't that like choosing to believe?
I always thought you either believe or you don't. We don't have a choice in the matter. Do we?