In Peter Elbows words: the believing game is the disciplined practice of trying to be as welcoming or accepting as possible to every idea we encounter: not just listening to views different from our own and holding back from arguing with them; not just trying to restate them without bias; but actually trying to believe them. We are using believing as a tool to scrutinize and test. But, instead of scrutinizing fashionable or widely accepted ideas for hidden flaws, the believing game asks us to scrutinize unfashionable or even repellent ideas for hidden virtues. Often we cannot see what is good in someone else’s idea (or in our own!) until we work at believing it. When an idea goes against current assumptions and beliefs–or if it seems alien, dangerous, or poorly formulated—we often cannot see any merit in it. (Elbow 2008) When you play the believing game, you project yourself into a writer’s point of view. You intentionally believe everything and trust yourself eventually to sort out the useful from the useless. Put it simply, the philosophy of the believing game sees ideas not as inherently true or false, but as tools. By believing an assertion, you can analyze it more deeply and see through it.
To get a feel for Peter Elbows believing game, write a summary of some belief that you strongly disagree with. Then write a summary of the position that you actually hold on this topic. Give both summaries to a classmate or two, and see if they can tell which position you endorse. If youve succeeded, they wont be able to tell.
Create a Word document and submit it here by the end of the school week.
Here’s the article