Can we still believe anyone at all?
This question is more urgent now than ever before. We live in an extraordinary time that is not comparable to any known epoch. Our technology has advanced so far that, for the first time, it potentially has the power to destroy, if not the planet, then still at least us and the contemporary animal and plant world. Or, in contrast, to enable us all to live a good, fulfilled life without want, for everything necessary would be available. Our decisions will, as it happens, lead to one or the other outcome in the foreseeable future … and they will be made on the basis of the information we receive.
So it is high time to thoroughly examine how far our world picture is congruent with reality. After all, we are certainly lied to on a regular basis – the question is only, just how bad is it really? Is it the eleventh hour, or just business as usual, after all?
If we want to check everything we believe to know for reliability, we must first of all establish a neutral appraisal framework, in order not to pursue, without noticing, habitual but false mental paths. Absolutely everybody has them in their head, and there can be no new findings or insight, neither where personal growth is concerned, nor in our world view, without first embarking on new and unfamiliar paths. Which of these we later add to our personal inner landscape, is up to us.
Consensus as a thought trap
The most dangerous misconceptions are those which we all share and consider to be self-evident.
It does not help us to believe any and all official statements on various matters without reservation. The conviction that the big media or governments would never lie to us is, unfortunately, boundlessly naive and dangerous – because even if it is true today, it may be quite different tomorrow – and how would you notice this critical change (for which there are plenty of examples in recent history) if you never do any fact-checking?
The filters in our minds, that much is clear, do not allow for specific – individually different – arguments. The desire to strive for group consensus is deep within our human programming, with the result that accordance is often more important to us than truth.
But how do you think free and uninfluenced?
The prerequisites of being an inhabitant of earth, a biped, a mammal, and the affiliation to the respective culture give some very elementary points of view which can never be completely left behind. Because these preconditions are so deep, they are also invisible to us and as self-evident as the air we breathe. It is precisely through this omnipresence, with simultaneous invisibility, that they can distort our perception at all – if we knew where they were, it would be easy to circumvent them.
The pain of change
To recognize the presence of the blind spots in your own head and to leave room for the possibility that you may be mistaken in some very basic questions requires the modesty and humility to start from scratch and accept that you may, with great passion, have defended some utterly foolish view all your life. Such Epiphanies are a great gift once the initial fear is overcome (and once one has learned to ignore the ego’s indignant roar).
They lead to a feeling of vitality and genuineness, which was hindered all along by the rigid walls the mind had to erect around its taboos – to what extent, one only realizes once they are torn down. The experience of such breakthroughs also brings more understanding of the stubbornness of others – they are just caught in their own little labyrinth of rules and prohibitions.
No matter what conclusion a person arrives at on their personal path, some of the greatest and most damaging illusions will inevitably lose their conviction as soon as one glimpses behind the curtain. This requires enough interest in the world and in truth, to invest the necessary time – and unfortunately, I am lost as to how to shake the lethargy of someone who simply does not care.
One path to take
In this sense, I would like to start a virtual journey through various models of world-definition, as a mental exercise and horizon extension, and will be glad of your company and comments on the way. It is important for me not to be indignant or derisive about other world views (especially those that are tabooed), in light of the fact that even a mistaken conclusion can be based on an interesting and relevant observation; the grain of truth that lies in every story.
Our thoughts and, indeed, our hearts must be awake and alive – and in case you felt a cynical little sting just now, you can rely on the fact that it is a symptom of the most dangerous and soul-crippling taboo present on this planet: the banishment of feelings and intuition. Our actions can lead to improvements only in harmony with both and also with the reality that surrounds us, otherwise we are about to hit the wall in every respect.
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