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5 World Views that Need to Be Scrapped for us to Evolve

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The idea of a world view has two inherent meanings. First it is a personal view of how the world is or should be, and secondly it is a view that is shared or consented to by others not just ourselves. So a world view is both how we personally see the world but at the same time it is something that is based on consensual reality – there is a social dimension to it. In fact, most of what we call world views are not created by any one person but rather a person chooses to adopt a world view that was already supported by others in society. Perhaps this is because he or she feels emotionally inclined to do so or since it fits comfortably with his/her own existing set of beliefs. Allegiance and support for one political party or ideology is a clear example of this since the individual chooses a political view that fits in with his own ‘moral’ beliefs and values.

Adopting a world view has nothing intrinsically wrong in itself. In fact there are world views that are healthy and arise out of authentic, loving and conscious effort to improve humanity. World views can be healthy especially when they are not rooted in irrational choice and when they are open to be revised and changed, hence accepting the fact that nothing is absolute and some of our knowledge is provisional at best – therefore stands to be corrected. The last point is in fact one of the major tenets that makes Science, well, Science.

There are other ‘self-destructive’ world views on the other hand which have been widely accepted in our consensual reality and have been rooted in our psyche for a long, long time. These world views are so deeply ingrained in our framework of reality that they are unconscious and even if we can still call them world views, they are more implicit rather than explicit. This makes them even harder to detect, even more so because they are sometimes heavily guarded by our collective ego. In fact, these are world views that arise out of ego-based fear, judgment and its obsession to cling on to or identify with something. Luckily, global consciousness is moving towards greater awareness and hence away from such views.

At the same time it is good to get a quick reminder of what these world views are and why it is high time to leave behind:

1.  ‘Us and Them’

More than a world view, this is a general attitude that gives rise to other misguided world views, yet I will call it a general world view here. It is related to the idea of separation – one of the biggest sources of suffering in Man. The separation of our social tribe, our people, our nation, our political group, our ideology, our gene pool, our culture – from yours. The ‘us and them’ world view is not only divisive but self-destructive since it always seeks to cut off something, whether individuals or groups, from something else.

This ‘cutting off’ is a powerful tool of the ego to keep us from remembering a liberating truth – that we are all connected and plugged in the same cosmic wheel of life. We are all One as the spiritual adage goes and the deeper we sink into this truth, the more we realise that this is the basis of creative and constructive change as we move forward in the global evolution of consciousness. Yet the ego doesn’t want this, doesn’t it? It will fight tooth and nail to prevent it and hence has found ways of implanting the misperception of separateness which in turn fuels irrational beliefs and even political agendas. I find it crazy, in fact, how so many of us don’t see past the veneer of certain ideologies and how we try to ‘rationally’ justify an ideology that is ultimately rooted in a misperception and irrational belief.

The ‘Us and them’ world view is such a creeping malaise in us humans that it also extend beyond social, cultural and political thinking. It is also the thing that has been detaching us from our natural world. Humanity passed through a point where it stopped feeling an integral part of the earth and the cosmos and started seeing the natural world as a resource pool and playground to satisfy our growing greed. So we also became separate from nature. Both Science and religion are at fault with this but would not like to go in the detail here.

There is however hope – a shining hope I would add. There is now more and more people who are stepping out of this illusion and spreading the awareness that there is no ‘us and them’ but rather only ‘Us’ (which coincidentally might be the acronym for ‘Universal Solidarity!)

2. Materialism and the Disenchantment with the World

Modern Science is relatively young – spanning some 200 years or at least somewhere in the region. As they say, Science has brought progress and unbound us from the shackles of the dark ages, yet modern Science has also generated another world view as a side effect which is still strongly prevalent nowadays – materialism. Materialism doesn’t mean zeal for material things but rather it is the world view that the material world is the basis of the Universe. In the classical Science era, it meant that all the natural phenomena can be explained in terms of underlying physical and chemical processes. The rest is just mumbo jumbo.

This has created a ‘flattened’ view of the world which caused us to become disenchanted with the magical universe around us. Indirectly it has caused us to become colder and more cynical. We started shrugging off mystery and beauty as just fiction or something that can be later explained by some physical process. In older, more ‘primitive’ societies people were still connected to the natural wonder of the earth and the universe. We were still in awe, enchanted by the mystery. We sat around fires hearing the elders tell stories that instructed the heart and not the mind. We understood the story nature was telling us beyond the logic of words. We were fascinated by it all.

Yet materialism became the epitome of the 19th and 20th century. Our mass consciousness turned from being beautiful, organic and fractal to being mechanical just like the assembly lines of the industrial revolution. According to Carl Jung, this is the ailment of modern Man – the basis of his neurosis. Of course things have gone a long way, even in Science. The classical view of Science made way to more open paradigms brought about by Quantum physics and the integration of cross-disciplinary paths. At the same time there is an emerging undercurrent which is becoming more aware of our ancestral wisdom – a revival of some sort through teachers and people who are trying their best to keep the wisdom alive.

3. Misguided Individualism

Another by-product of the 20th century, particularly in the more ‘liberal’ west, has been individualism or the idea that the rights of the individuals stand supreme and should be safeguarded by just laws and meritocracy. Of course this is a beautiful ideal and something everyone would stand up for. The problem is that this ideal got somehow abused, distorted and devolved into a more egocentric form. As modern society is now spiraling out of control with over-consumerism and greed for material possessions and power, individualism has been given a different overtone. We have overstretched the idea to now mean that the so called perceived needs of the individual (which in reality are nothing more than ‘wants’ sold to us by the media) come before the welfare of the communities and the planet.

This distorted acceptance of individual greed over the community at large can be seen projected on the current state of the planet. We have become indifferent and lost in our small distorted worlds. We don’t feel part of the community anymore – we are disengaged with the affairs of the world. The media has desensitized us to the point that barrages of negative impressions – wars, atrocities, mass murders, violence – feel like some movie of some sort. We have been disempowered by the belief that there is nothing we can do to help the world…it’s already hard enough keeping ourselves afloat. So the world view of individualism has been distorted up to a point of making a 180 degree turn – from empowering to disempowering the individual.

4. Institutionalized Control

Another form of disempowerment of the individual comes through institutionalized control. These are the top-down hierarchical control structures of society such as schooling, media and its censorship, mass propaganda, etc. We feel the institutional pressures weighing down on us and what’s more we are becoming more aware that some of these control structures were put in place to accommodate the agenda of the few at the expense of the many. The self-defeating world view that accompanies this is a fatalist one. We have given up our control and freedom completely, feeling that this is the way things are and that there is nothing much we can do about it. This is how the world works. This is also referred to as the problem of diffused responsibility, where individuals feel that the current state of affairs in the world is not their responsibility but that of a higher power such as the governments, politicians, leaders and the institutions.

The good news is that with the advancement of technology together with the growing will and awareness of people, all this is changing. We are seeing a shift away from tight hierarchical structures to more decentralization and democratization. The media is a good example. Before we could only know what is happening around us through the news broadcasted by the same news networks. Now everyone can be a journalist and information is shared by the many to the many through the web which became more social and mobile. Education is going through its own makeover too. We are now seeing more people looking for alternative forms of schooling which move away from the traditional mainstream forms. Home schooling, online courses and community based schooling is becoming more diffused.

Technology is also helping us become more self-sustainable and independent with respect to our energy needs and waste management. The general direction of all these changes are gradually helping us get out of this fatalistic world view and empowering us to take control of our own destiny through mass collaboration and the healthy use of technology.

5. Absolutism

Absolutism is a world view that is also inherent in some other world views. It is the idea that our beliefs, laws, cultural norms and way of life are absolute in the sense that they can be applied universally in all contexts to every human on this planet. So when we see others applying their own system of beliefs and cultural way of life we see it as a threat to our own. This gives rise the ‘us and them’ world view through misogynistic reactions such as intolerance, racism, wars and conflicts. This world view has been the basis of many wars and atrocities throughout human history, particularly religious ones.

Unfortunately this world view is still very much dispersed today. We still haven’t learned to be more tolerant to diversity and the fact that cultural norms and beliefs are relative, not absolute. The idea that our reality is the only one or the dominant one is so short-sighted and egocentric that it falls into complete blindness and madness at times. If there is one world view that we need to get rid of before others, it is this one, especially now in such a fast changing world.

The more we evolve as a species, the more we have to realize that our knowledge and beliefs are always changing. It is at best provisional. Nothing is absolute and nothing is cast in stone. Hence, it is imperative for our own survival and flourishing to understand how counter-productive it is to get stuck in an absolutist world view. We need to embrace change, as the world is transforming fast, but more importantly we need to be at peace with the idea that even our world views can and will change… as so it should be.

This article is offered under Creative Commons license. It’s okay to republish it anywhere as long as attribution bio is included and all links remain intact.

Originally seen on Waking Times

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Consciousness

9-Year-Old Mexican Girl With Higher IQ Than Albert Einstein Already Studying to be Astronaut

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Adhara Pérez may only be nine years old, but she already has big dreams – which is only fitting, considering the Mexico City native has an IQ of 162, a score even higher than quantum scientists Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking.

Adhara has been taking IQ tests since she was only four years old, and has been applying her considerable brain power to studying advanced subjects that some of us could only dream of grasping.

At the age of seven, she was already ranked by Forbes magazine in 2019 as one of the most powerful women in Mexico.

The young prodigy is already studying for two degrees: one is systems engineering at the Universidad CNCI, and the other is industrial engineering at UNITEC.

She’s also been invited to pursue a master’s degree in atmospheric science from the University of Miami; as well as an offer to study physics at the University of Israel.

To top it off, she’s been invited to join the Aeronautics Program in Alabama and to study Space Science at NASA, reports Telemundo. She hopes to eventually become an astronaut.

However, the youngster is aiming to continue her studies at the University of Arizona and is quickly learning English in hopes of preparing to pursue her dreams.

“I have to stay there for three months to learn and get accustomed to hearing and speaking English,” Adhara explained to NBC San Diego.

At the age of three, Adhara was diagnosed with autism and bullied by neighborhood kids in the Mexican capital for being different. The youngster eventually fell into a deep depression, but this also began her journey toward a brighter future.

Upon being placed in therapy by her mother, she underwent various IQ tests and got a score of 162 – two points higher than Einstein and Hawking, who each scored 160.

Upon finishing high school at the age of eight, she began working on her degrees online. She’s also already written a book about her experience being bullied and the need for perserverence.

Her advice?

“Do not give up, and if you don’t like where you are, start planning where you want to be!”

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7 Powerful Books That Will Unleash The Hidden Potential Of Your Mind

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“A mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge.” ~George R.R. Martin

There it is: your mind –all leashed-up, bored, bookless and chasing its own tail in the corner. It’s time to unleash it. It’s time to toss it back into the shocking waters of wonder and awe. It’s time to distract it from the all too familiar tail (or tale, to wit), and give it a juicy carrot to chase around instead. Seven juicy carrots, to be exact.

So, store that leash, open up your mind, curl up with your best friend, and dive right on in to the following mind-unleashing books. But keep the light on. As Groucho Marx wittily opined, “Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.”

1.) “The Beginning of Infinity” by David Deutsche

“We never know any data before interpreting it through theories. All observations are, as Popper put it, theory-laden, and hence fallible, as all our theories are.” ~David Deutsche

From epistemology and quantum fungibility to environmental ethics and societal evolution, David Deutsche takes us on a thought-provoking journey into answering a single question: Is there a limit to what can be understood? He comes at a mind-expending answer of “no” by diving deep into the expanding waters of epistemology and ontology. He profoundly claims that our understanding of anything is always at the “beginning of infinity” and there will always be an infinite amount more left for us to understand. Basically surmising that, with accurate and adaptable knowledge, anything is possible unless it is prohibited by the laws of physics.

Highly rational and integrating, The beginning of Infinity launches us into higher thinking on the path toward better and better explanations. He takes us from parochial, outdated ways of thinking to the concept of universality and updated ways of thinking about the universe as a thing to be progressively evolved into using ever-expanding technologies. Thus bridging the gap from man to overman. As he made clear, “There is only one way of thinking that is capable of making progress, or of surviving in the long run, and that is the way of seeking good explanations through creativity and criticism.”

2.) “Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience” by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

“Most enjoyable activities are not natural; they demand an effort that initially one is reluctant to make. But once the interaction starts to provide feedback to the person’s skills, it usually begins to be intrinsically rewarding.” ~Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Thanks to Csikszentmihalyi, the idea of the “flow state” has become a vital aspect of our cultural awakening. The optimal experience is gained through deep discipline in a particular field/art/sport that provides intrinsic reward, challenge, and feedback, thus integrating confidence, concentration, control, adaptability, and connectivity. Time stops or slows down. Insecurities disappear. We stop caring about what others think of us. A creative unfolding of something larger manifests. Everything flows effortlessly in interconnected unison with us as its interdependent spearhead. In short: we stop thinking and just do.

By simply asking the question, “When are people most happy?” Csikszentmihalyi, through time tested research, pinpoints flow states as the answer. Athletes call it “being in the zone,” mystics have described it as “ecstasy,” and artists term it “rapture.” Unleashing optimal experience is about doing what we love as a pathway toward greater meaning, happiness, and a self of higher complexity. By doing what we love in challenging ways, we leverage optimal experience into our lives. This book powerfully explains the psychology of this vital process.

3.) “Phi: A Voyage from the Brain to the Soul” by Giulio Tononi

“Murky thoughts, like murky waters, can serve two purposes only: to hide what lies beneath, which is our ignorance, or to make the shallow seem deep” ~Giulio Tononi

Phi takes the reader on a mind-altering journey through the nature of consciousness. It interweaves science, art, and the imagination with golden ratios, Fibonacci sequences, and fractal cosmology. The reader has the joy of perceiving the world through such masters as Galileo, Alan Turing, Darwin and Francis Crick, among others. From neuroscience to pseudoscience, from deep introspection to mindful meditation, Tononi elucidates on how consciousness is an evolving, ever-deepening awareness of ourselves as finite, spiritual beings in an infinite universe.

We learn how consciousness is integrated information and how the power of that integration requires the utmost responsibility and credulity. It teaches how the brain is the seat of our perceptions, and is a creative force par excellence, and can even create new shapes and new qualia. It teaches how, by growing consciousness, the universe comes more and more into being, and synthesizes the one and the many, the ego and the eco, the individual and the interdependence of all things into a unified force of Nature.

4.) “The Art of Fear” by Kristen Ulmer

““Everything is fine” is actually a copout, a stuck place, an obstruction to the exploration of who and what you are expanding into higher and further, not to mention the evolution of humanity.” ~Kristen Ulmer

The Art of fear is about curiously embracing fear rather than conquering or repressing it. It’s about rebuilding our understanding of fear from the ground up. It’s about realizing that Fear is only one of 10,000 employees at You Incorporated, and how they all need a voice. But Fear most of all, lest all voices become repressed shadows. The key to fear, she explains, is being curious about it, thereby harnessing its power rather than conquering it. Between courage and curiosity is everything we need to be fearless.

Ulmer’s personal journey with fear eventually led her to study with Zen masters, from which she learned a mindfulness tool called “Shift” which shifts our perspective of fear from ignorant repression to proactive curiosity, thus aligning it authentically with our true nature. The basic tenet being this: Instead of repressing fear, empower it, by being curious and questioning rather than judgmental and accusing. Honor it with deep respect so it doesn’t operate covertly in twisted ways beneath the surface.

5.) “Endgame: The Problem of Civilization” by Derrick Jensen

“Premise One: Civilization is not and can never be sustainable. This is especially true for industrial civilization.” ~Derrick Jensen

Endgame will take everything you think you know about being a social being in a seemingly functional society and turn it on its head. Definitely not for the typical statist, nor the faithful law-abiding citizen. Endgame is about the imperative need to immediately dismantle the unhealthy civilization that surrounds us. Endgame is a scathing, raging critique against the unhealthy, unsustainable, and ecologically unsound man-machine that is our modern culture.

Breaking the book down into a series of simple but increasingly provocative premises, Jensen takes us on a mind-bending and convincing ride into the unhealthy belly of the violent, ecocidal beast that is modern day civilization. His basic premise is simple: Industrial civilization is unsustainable. It’s not a question of “if” but a question of “when” it’s going to fail.

He argues that the longer it takes civilization to fall, the worse the tragedy will be. In that light, there are two things we should be doing: Bringing about the fall sooner rather than later; and preparing to survive it. His attitude is caustic and cavalier, but all the better for the shock value it provides. This book really flattens the box we’re all so desperately trying to think outside of. A complimentary (and perhaps less aggressive) read is Beyond Civilization by Daniel Quinn.

6.) Trickster Makes this World: Mischief, Myth, and Art by Lewis Hyde

“Better to operate with detachment, then; better to have a way but infuse it with a little humor; best, to have no way at all but to have instead the wit constantly to make one’s way anew from the materials at hand.” ~Lewis Hyde

Trickster Makes This World is a mythological cornerstone for Sacred Clowns and practicing trickster-gods the world over, digging into the guts of the primordial importance of sacred play and rowdy behavior. Hyde explores how trickster figures represent the “disruptive imagination” that inverts, rearranges, and overturns conventional wisdom. From Raven to Coyote, Monkey to Crow, Hermes to Loki, Eshu to Legba, Hyde reveals connections between mythological tricksters that form a hidden network that connects cultural divides.

The best part about this book is its ability to show how mythology becomes reality. “Trickster consciousness’” is a vital component of human imagination. It reveals that we are the gods of renewal and rebirth, if we choose to be. We are the creators of mischief and mayhem. We are the trickster gods in training. Trickster is us, and we are Trickster. We are the ultimate boundary-crossers. No manmade rules or laws can contain us, unless we let them. Even cosmic rules and laws can hardly contain us. Trickster makes this world by tearing the old world down through high humor, moral ambiguity, foolishness, and strategic transgression and then dances in the ashes of its destruction. But it is precisely from the dancing, the kicking up of dust and ash, where brave new worlds emerge.

7.) “Moral Tribes: Emotion, Reason, and the Gap Between Us and Them” by Joshua Greene

“We need a kind of thinking that enables groups with conflicting moralities to live together and prosper. In other words, we need a metamorality. We need a moral system that resolves disagreements among groups with different moral ideals, just as ordinary first-order morality resolves disagreements among individuals with different selfish interests.” ~Joshua Greene

Moral Tribes is hands-on moral psychology and a refreshing new take on utilitarianism. Greene wraps game theory, evolutionary biology, and neuroscience into a nice digestible package to bolster his theory of cognition, which builds elegantly into a theory of moral psychology. A sweeping synthesis of neuroscience, psychology, and philosophy, Moral Tribes opens a can of psychosocial worms that takes the concept of morality to the next level, revealing how we are exceptionally well-adept at solving the dilemma between “Me” and “Us,” through the concept of the “tribe,” but how we are ridiculously less-adept at solving the meta-dilemma between “Us” and “Them.”

Greene’s concept of metamorlity squares this psychosocial circle by counterintuitively applying utilitarianism to our base, knee-jerk reaction to morality (evolved morality) by becoming aware of our apathy in order to become more empathetic. By reinforcing humanity instead of nationalism, and worldly patriotism instead of patriotic nationalism, we turn the tables on both xenophobia and apathy and we become more compassionate and empathetic toward others. When we celebrate diversity instead of trying to cram the square peg of colonialism into the round hole of cultural affiliation, we turn the tables on the monkey-mind’s one-dimensional moral tribalism and we usher in Joshua Greene’s multi-dimensional metamorality.

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10 Things You Don’t Wan’t To Know About Yourself

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“Freedom is the right to tell people what they don’t want to hear.” ~George Orwell

Sick of all those self-affirmation articles? Tired of all the self-help gurus blowing sunshine up your skirt? Need something a little more grounding? More down-to-earth? More humbling? Here’s a fresh batch of wake-up calls and kicks-in-the-shin straight from the oven. Get it while its hot…

1.) You are an animal:

“What a chimera then is humankind. What a novelty; what a monster, what a chaos.” ~Blaise Pascal
This one is painfully obvious, but you probably need a reminder.

You are a naked ape. You are blood and bones and improbable apposable thumbs. You were born from the womb and you will one day be food for worms. In the womb, you went through all the phases of evolution: from a single-celled amoeba to a multicellular tadpole to a brain-wielding infant.

In your short life, you will piss and shit and bleed. You will rage and cry and sleep. You will go through all the profane motions of being a mortal mammal within an amoral universe. And here’s the real kick in the teeth: it’s going to hurt like hell. Hope you have a good sense of humor, because you’re going to need it.

2.) You are fallible:

“Things fall apart. The center cannot hold.” ~W.B. Yeats

You are terribly imperfect. You will make mistakes. More so, you are mistaken about a great many things. Most of which you will probably never admit to yourself, because admitting you are wrong is one of the most difficult things a human being can do.

But it goes deeper than that. There are fallibilities within fallibilities. It’s a veritable fractal forest of fallibility. A fractal wrongness, if you will.

You are more wrong about things than you can possibly imagine, and yet you insist. You force your wrongness. You are fierce with it, ruthlessly certain with it. You are so hungry for rightness that you bludgeon the Truth with your wrongness. All the while imagining that you are right.

As it turns out, you are more likely to be right by admitting that you are probably wrong than by declaring that you are probably right.

3.) You are a hypocrite:

“You have not learned to play and mock the way a man ought to play and mock. Are we not always seated at a great table for play and mockery? Learn to laugh at yourselves as a man ought to laugh. Learn to laugh beyond yourselves, and learn to laugh well.” ~Nietzsche

You are a hypocrite by nature. By the fact that you perceive an unfathomable reality with fallible faculties. It’s not even your fault. Just the fact that you are a “you” precludes hypocrisy. The self is smoke and mirrors, masks and mayhem. More akin to a chaotic theater of actors than a single personality.

Indeed, the self is masks all the way down perceiving delusions all the way up. Hypocrisy was always inevitable. Merely the biproduct of a fallible self.

Amidst this mayhem of fallible selfhood, you will experience dissimulation and self-deception, dishonesty and deep pretension, inauthenticity and artificiality. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The rest is hidden beneath layer upon layer of subconscious/unconscious double-dealings, feigned sincerity, two-faced unctuousness, and the mealymouthed choruses of canting contradictions.

Your hypocrisy knows no bounds, so you might as well own up to it.

4.) You will fail:

“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.” ~Samuel Beckett

Failure is a given when you are merely a fallible, hypocritical animal going through the motions of living life in an uncertain universe.

But there is wisdom hidden in failure if you are keen to it. Setbacks can be transformed into steppingstones. Tragedy can be hardwired into comedy. Catastrophe can be whittled into accomplishment. You can build a ladder out of the shattered pieces of your life and climb out of the abyss.

But guess what? You will probably fail again. The higher you climb the farther you may fall. When it comes to failure, there is always a deeper abyss. Defeat, hard luck, and utter collapse are right around the corner. Disappointment is Accomplishment’s kissing cousin. Tragedy is Triumph’s red-headed stepchild. Today’s achievement could very well be tomorrow’s tripwire. So be it. Use it all as a sharpening stone for your all-too-mortal soul.

5.) You are never not broken:

“We adore chaos because we love to produce order.” ~M.C. Escher

Wholeness does not imply perfection. It infers embracing brokenness as an essential part of being human. There is never a state in which you are not broken.
You are a walking, talking broken heart going through the motions of breaking apart and coming back together again. This also applies to the mind, the body, and the soul. You are constantly in a state of repair.

Your suffering is sufferable. What’s insufferable is your ideal of perfection. There will always be pain. There will always be heartache. There will always be existential angst. We wreck ourselves against these. Then we knock out the dents, mend the cracks, and heal the wounds. We do this in the hope that it will make us stronger. But perhaps it won’t.
The wound may or may not become a sacred wound. All you can do is hurt, heal, and hope. Hurt, heal, and hope. From fragility to robustness to antifragility, you will always be in a state of falling apart and coming back together again. Embrace it.

6.) You have a dark side:

“There are no shortcuts to wholeness. The only way to become whole is to put our arms lovingly around everything we know ourselves to be: self-serving and generous, spiteful and compassionate, cowardly and courageous, treacherous and trustworthy. We must be able to say, ‘I am all of the above.’” ~Parker J. Palmer

You have a shadow. Even your shadow has a shadow called the golden shadow. Your shadow is your repressed or unconscious self, struggling to be liberated and more conscious. Awareness is key. Becoming aware of our shadow side is shining a light into the darkness and giving our dark side permission to shine its blacklight back into the blinding light, which creates a unity of opposites.
An empowered dark side balances out the equation of the complicated human condition. Without this balance, you risk fragile one-dimensionality and a brittle ego terrified of taking responsibility for its shadow and thus fearful of the shadow of others.

You cannot fully know yourself without knowing your dark side and embracing your shadow. Such wholeness breeds wisdom and the ability to experience the full range of what it means to be human.

7.) Your beliefs limit you:

“If you adopt an idea or perception as the absolute truth, you close the door of your mind. Attachment to views, attachment to ideas, attachment to perceptions are the biggest obstacle to truth.” ~The Buddha

Your beliefs are incredibly restricting. You’ve been indoctrinated to think that you need to believe. Even worse, you’ve been brainwashed to believe more than you think.

In the battle against bewitchment, all beliefs, no matter how powerful or well-intended, are a hinderance to clear thought and self-improvement.

tter to think rather than believe. Thinking that something might be true allows for error, fallibility, and wrongness. Believing that something is certainly true cuts us off from all other possibilities. Belief is all or nothing, predicated upon faith despite facts or evidence. Thought is open-ended, taking beliefs, facts, and evidence into deep consideration and then using probability and validity to discover the truth.

More importantly, thinking rather than believing allows for skepticism and questioning. It is considered blasphemous to question a belief. Whereas questioning a thought is considered appropriate. Might as well just skip belief altogether and simply take things into thoughtful consideration.

8.) You are culturally conditioned:

“When war turns whole populations into sleepwalkers, outlaws don’t join forces with alarm clocks. Outlaws, like poets, rearrange the nightmare.” ~Tom Robbins

You are programmed to think a certain way. This programming has propped-up your identity into perceiving a particular worldview that may or may not be based in reality. It might not even be healthy. This identity tied up in your worldview is an abstraction of an abstraction, a story within a story that you’ve convinced yourself is true.

But you have the power to reprogram your programming.

We are all conditioned by culture. The key is to become aware of it and to weigh our conditioning against the truth of reality. Then recondition the conditioning. We each have our own Plato’s Cave to navigate.

The extent to which you can become aware of your own “cave” will be the extent of your flexibility, open-mindedness, and personal freedom.

9.) You know less than you think:

“Some people are more certain of everything than I am of anything.” ~Robert Rubin

You think you know more than you actually do. Your certainty about a great many things limits your imagination, creative thinking, and ability to question. It leads to dogmatic reasoning and close-mindedness.

ou are just so certain, aren’t you? Your certitude is so powerful that you cannot see past your beliefs. Hung up on what you’ve found, you have given up the search. Your journey has come to an end. Your certainty has led you to a dead-end. You are stuck. And the only way out is to question what you think you know.

The more you question, the more you realize that the only answer that makes any sense is to keep questioning. When you stop questioning the journey for truth comes to an end and stagnation, sloth, and dogmatism begin to rule your world. Keep things in perspective by accepting that you know less than you think you do and keep questioning.

10.) Your life is terribly inconsequential:

“Don’t slip on the banana peel of nihilism, even while listening to the roar of Nothingness.” ~Lawrence Ferlinghetti

When it comes down to it, your life is a flash in the pan. It’s dust in the cosmic wind. It’s an infinitesimally insignificant spark in an unfathomably dark, unforgiving, and meaningless universe. But it is a spark.

What you do won’t matter in the grand scheme of things. But it’s very important that you do it anyway. Why? Because you are the universe attempting to become aware of itself. You are an awareness machine in an otherwise unaware cosmos. You are a meaning-generator in a reality void of meaning. You might be nothing more than a speck in the universe, but you are also the entire universe in a speck.

Either way, you will one day be dust. Your tiny insignificant life will end. Face that fleetingness with a fierceness. Laugh into the abyss. Face fear with fearlessness. Climb the highest mountain and kick God in the nuts. Rage, rage against the dying of the light. Or not. None of it will matter in the end. You will still be the butt-end of the cosmic joke. It’s all laughable. So you might as well have a laugh.

Gary Z McGee, Self-inflicted Philosophy, republished here with permission.

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