[Figure 2] A specious present arising from the nodal point of testimony and counter-testimony
(~T: Counter-testimony, SP: Specious Present, T: Testimony)
In such a context, how can we not compare bearing testimonial belief to an act of rushing into gambling? A contest of incompatible hypotheses about a given past destroys our common past ("history") like waves eroding a sandcastle built on the seashore. Testimonies become the crest, and counter-testimony becomes the trough part of the wave respectively, to the point where it is impossible to discern which one started at the very beginning. Besides, the confirmation of the facts of the testimony is blocked in advance, under the name of protection/solidarity/identification toward the victim. An easy progressive view that obsolescence of the past("yesterday") will forge the future ("tomorrow") even exacerbates this plight. However, under the point of view that testimonial belief arises from the taking of 'practical truth' rather than a result of an ethical motive, the possibility of 'the past that could have been otherwise' is open as much as the future does. Understandably, the reason is that past is something we continuously reconstruct through struggle, instead of staying irreversible.
Whether to doubtlessly believe the testimony from the lives of others I have not seen nor lived under the pretext of the restoration of a repressed voice or to treat them as fabricated fiction to season your taste-it's a game you always lose regardless of your choice. Believe it or not, this game is not simply a matter of belief or distrust. Both beliefs(belief on, and belief against) occur at the same time. I could distrust hearsay testimony by n% and trust it by (100-n)%. Beliefs that are not likely to fit together stay together. This coexistence always occurs, even without recalling the skeptical argument that the witness's memory might have been manipulated unknowingly, or that the true knowledge of the witness might only be a result of luck(which might have been intended by the demon in the room). Rather, the process of epistemic justification that requires the foundation of truth always considers the slightest possibility that the testimony might have been false. That's why we often imagine the improbable. But the benefits of this are found somewhere off the wall: that is, the extension of conceivability in a perverted way.
SIBE turns out to be inevitable in whichever case the truthfulness of the fact is unknown for this moment. When you cannot recollect one way or another(because it never reaches the end), or the events that happened are still irreducible to evidence-your hypothesis selection gets overfitted with your improbable imagination about something that is highly reluctant. The most reluctant possibility here means what we are hearing could be perjury. The fear of simulated perjury becomes the very fear of testimony listening. When the hypothesis most useful in a given state is regarded as a set of truths simply because false positives and false negatives cannot be distinguished, you are adopting a practical truth, not an epistemological truth. Again, the selection of a sonic hypothesis based on practical and empirical requirements can be another way to expand conceivability. In short, it could even be argued that imagining the unimaginable is not only a precursor to an act of conceiving the inconceivable but rather a prerequisite.
This is more than a strange thing, since being reluctant to imagine something means that it has already been imagined. To understand what this means, it can be helpful to think of it as a matter of desire, instead of that of a belief. We cannot fear the desires that do not exist, since being reluctant to desire something means that you already have thought, imagined, or desired it. Therefore, just as the inventing of a new desire often starts from the variation of what is reluctant to desire, the conceiving of the inconceivable can also benefit from the imagination that we are reluctant and shy of. Another commonality between belief and desire is that we cannot really choose them. We think we choose to believe something, but we may not. Similarly, we think we desire what we want, and what we choose, but we may not.
Starting from the listening otherly, a 'hypothesis' is proposed at this point as to whether the imagination that we are loath for, can serve as a portal for the things that are inconceivable. In this hypothesis, what emerges is subjective rationality rather than objective rationality, and a pragmatic view of truth than epistemic truth. This hypothesis sounds very speculative, but the moment we adopt or reject it, we discover that we are in some way dependent on our trivial humane experience and our limited rationality. At the same time, it is a way to speak differently about the experience of listening otherly, instead of dismissing it as the result of a cognitive error, auditory hallucination, delirium, or being 'haunted'. The belief about the present sonic state that later could be revealed otherwise, is at the heart of the strange possibilities of listening otherly.
You do not have to leave your house and stay a night in the woods to find a sound that suggests the presence of a predator that might harm you. If the day comes when you spend the night in a house with a broken window, you may mistake the sound you hear outside the window at dawn for the sound of some intruder's footsteps. After trembling in fear, you will finally feel relieved the next day, and get to know that it was a sound of a short shower last night from seeing slightly moist soil on the ground. This is how we forecast whether our belief in the tune of the coming future will be realized or betrayed. When the impending event finally happens, when one of the hundred sparks was finally ignited, the remaining unrealized scenarios are enveloped, and the climax of expectations faces a rapid decline. But it's not the end yet. "We quickly realize that she has gone, but nonetheless the expectation of her presence remains in her place. [...] an automatic expectation[...] an unsuppressable expectation even when we know it will go unfulfilled"
* This illustration also called the “taxi problem,” is an example of behavioral economists Daniel Kahneman & Amos Tversky's study on base rate fallacy.
** Alex Maclean(2005). “Gestalt theory: Visual and Sonic Gestalt” https://slab.org/writing/gestalt/
*** Rhee Young-eui(2020, revision). Bayesianism
**** Subharmonic, or undertone, refers to an overtone that is generated at an octave ratio such as 1/2 or 1/4 of the fundamental frequency due to nonlinear distortion.
***** William James(1890). The Principles of Psychology, Vol.1.