“Brian, I’m so happy today, I finally hired myself a personal assistant!”
“Congratulations” I say, “I’d love to meet your new assistant sometime”
David replies a little dejected “What do you mean? I brought him in with me. Brian, meet John, my new assistant”
I look up, but all I see is David. “Uhh, I’m sorry” I stutter, “I don’t see John in here”.
Reinvigorated, David says “Sure you do! John, meet Brian”
I remain seated; bewildered that David is asking me to introduce myself to an individual that I don’t see. David continues “Brian, please shake John’s hand, he thinks you don’t like him”. Feeling a bit odd, I extend my hand, but I don’t see or feel anything. Patronizingly David commands me “Don’t just hold his hand, shake it like you mean it!” So playing along, I shake my hand in the empty air. “Awww, doesn’t that feel better” Says David.
As I sit there contemplating the sanity of my co-worker, David begins to explain to me all the benefits of his new assistant. He tells me of how John is has a good track record at his previous jobs, and that he believes that with John’s help he will be able to achieve his full potential, becoming even more successful than ever in accomplishing his career.
The more I listen, the more I wonder if I should be placing a call the HR to see if my good friend David needs to get some help. The more cynical part of me wants to blurt out “What? Did you bring an imaginary friend to work? Is this a joke? What’s the date, April first? Do you really want me to believe that I shook the hand of an individual that I can’t see, hear or smell? No, David, you’ve lost your marbles and you need some professional help!”
But, not wanting to offend or hurt my friend and co-worker, I congratulate him again on his new assistant and take a “wait and see” approach. I decide that if he is able to become more productive, make more money and find more joy in his job with this unseen assistant, then that is okay by me. However, I will keep my out for other signs that he is losing grip with reality.
This scenario seems like the most logical way most of us would react to the scenario presented. The default position would be that of disbelief.
But imagine for a minute if all our lives we had been conditioned to believe in unseen personal assistants. In that case a much greater percentage would accept David’s presentation of his personal assistant as completely normal. We might even condition ourselves to actually “feel” the handshake, and perhaps we might even invite our unseen assistant to shake the hand of the other unseen assistant, reinforcing the concept to ourselves.
Only under the conditioning of a presupposition that unseen assistants exist would it be logical to hold a so-called agnostic position. That is to say, if the default position is belief without evidence, rather than skepticism, then and only then does it make sense to say “I don’t know if unseen personal assistants really exist” In reality most people would be a-personal-assistants, correlating with a-theistic if the question were about the existence of an invisible god.