A new article has been made on Medium, discussing why we believe in nonsense, and what it takes to clean ourselves of our acquired false beliefs.
Blank slates don’t stay blank for long
As humans, we arrive in life as open, ignorant and suggestible learning machines. That works to our advantage when we get told truth and facts, but greatly to our disadvantage when we don’t.
Luckily for our species, we’re born as intelligent, fast-learning machines, and the whole of our lives are generally successions of new or repeated learning experiences.
We have to learn fast, as our very existence in life depends on us following rules and laws, and avoiding the pitfalls that the many that came before us, know very well.
We are born with some innate faculties, given by birthright, and we acquire many others throughout our lives, with varying degrees of dexterity and skill. We inherit the instinctive functions of our body, and we are naturally given emotions. No-one had to teach us how to breathe, stretch or feel, they just happen automatically. We do however, have to learn how to move, talk and think, and this is where things can start going awry. As open-book learning machines, we believe usually the first thing we’re told, and unless we find out otherwise for ourselves, we’ll continue to believe it.
Why would we question what we’re told, if we’ve experienced nothing to the contrary (yet), and especially if we experience consistent multitudes telling us the same thing is true?
We learn through mimicry predominantly. We mimic the movements, postures and gestures of those around us, we mimic what they say, how they say it (unless we’re told not to!), and we mimic how people react, even though at the time, we might not be feeling the same thing. We simply copy others, and in the process of life develop a style of our own with these traits. But, we are still the branch, from the tree, from the roots, that made us.
Problems really begin when we ask questions to people who don’t really know the objective two-sided truth of something, and get given subjective, biased, current mood-driven and inconsistent answers.
At first glance, all is well inside. If we’re told a fairy will exchange some money for our teeth, and we see money and no tooth, we’re going to believe in fairies. Despite not ever seeing one, we’ll feel good about that. Our thoughts about the world, and the world itself seem to be in line. Harmony for us.
If we’re told that people from that side of the river eat worms and worship rabbits, despite not ever seeing them do that either, we’re probably going to believe that too.
If we get told we go somewhere special when we depart this life, if we deny ourselves anything good, or give all our stuff away, or even strap a bomb on us, and take out a neighbourhood, despite the same lack of personally verified evidence to the contrary, we’re likely to believe that too.
Worse still, BECAUSE it’s on the television or any media outlet, we’re going to firmly believe it must be true, until we reach an age of reason (if we ever do).
We get into a strange, yet innocently naive state of believing something, although having no evidence that it is true, simply because we haven’t seen for ourselves that it is clearly untrue. Absence of evidence of falsity seems to outweigh absence of evidence of truth. Until we personally experience the real truth, we will likely stay fixed in some way to the false.
The only real antidote to lies and falseness is a personal experience of what IS real. We can be steered back over time by opposing multitudes, but the alternate belief is built on the same structure as before, and affects us in just the same way, for as long as we continue to not verify it for ourselves.
We don’t know the word “hypocrisy” as children, but we can sure feel the effects of it
Children have very simple logic. If A then B. If B, it’s just B, what’s for tea? We start going wrong when we get told to behave in one way, but have already started to mimic it, in gesture or action, in another. The classic “Do as I tell you, not as I do” directive, makes no sense at all if you want your child to learn from you consistently. We don’t know the word “hypocrisy” as children, but we can sure feel the effects of it. It almost guarantees to create a schism in our being. Part of us mimics the action automatically, the other part forever condemns it. Our heads, now following some misguided illogic, start to overrule our bodies. It won’t feel half as good as when our ideas matched how the world seemed to be.
We get filled day after day with thoughts and notions that quite frankly don’t deserve the back pages in a story book.
For example, we might believe that crop circles were actually made by aliens, who got better and better at them over time, despite people actually saying “We did it, we really did, and we have video evidence of us doing it”. Our beliefs can be so entrenched, and thought about so much, that it’s going to take a lot more than someone saying it isn’t so, before it really isn’t so.
Again, absence of evidence of truth hardly ever seems to outweigh absence of evidence of untruth. Although I have never seen a fairy carry out a nocturnal, fiscal exchange for dead dental material, it’s only because I keep missing them. I’m only going to stop believing in them when I see my father take my tooth away, after waking me up by moving the pillow clumsily, and when I finally find it in the box marked “memories”, that my mother asked me not to look in. Until THEN, all bets are off. There’s still a chance we’ll meet, Tinkerbell.
An unbridled thought is a runaway idea
We really ought to have a good long look at our minds, and list all the beliefs we have that we haven’t actually verified as true for ourselves, and have a further long thought about whether we really ought to still believe it so firmly. We might find a list as long as our arms, and someone else’s.
An unbridled thought is a runaway idea. If we don’t keep a check on our thinking, our thinking will direct us in whatever biased way it has been taught, from whatever seat it finds itself sitting in. We are at the mercy of lies, and end up in a world of confusion if we don’t clear up the difference between falsity and truth from our personal life stories.
We should definitely start by not judging people based on the stories of others. If someone was truly objective, they’d probably see any quality in another, in themselves too, and say nothing bad about anyone. Only strongly subjective people strongly express views on others. Why continue to take on just one viewpoint as the all-knowing, unbending truth without checking it first? It likely isn’t true. Truth speaks softly. Lies tend to shout out often.
We are born blank slates, and from that state, we get scrawled all over by everyone else. In the end we are full of views and ideas that frequently are in diametric opposition to others we carry. If someone listened to us all day long, sooner or later we would say something that made an earlier comment look like idiocy or an outright lie. We let these unchecked thoughts roll on. And we wonder why we never get anywhere real.
We ought to take the time to look back at what’s on our slate, to really check if things are what we were told they are. They rarely are. If something is true, it doesn’t need to shout about it, or repeat itself over and over. It’s kind of obvious. How many people have you come across, who passionately need to tell you that one plus one equals two, and keep telling you?
Once verified as either clearly true, or clearly not true, we can clean our slates, and we go forward into life with less fear and prejudice. Our faces tend to show this absence of judgment to others, leading to others feeling more at ease, simply because they don’t feel feared or judged.
We can’t help but BE biased when we are fed subjective bias from day one. That’s a kind of given for human beings, coming from subjective environments. But, we can look back and verify it all, because without that, we just keep on spreading the false ideas like a virus.
Believe nothing, unless it is personally verified.
Otherwise, mark it as “TO BE VERIFIED” and don’t believe a word of it, yet.