(TMU Opinion) — “The general population doesn’t know what’s happening, and it doesn’t even know that it doesn’t know.” ~Noam Chomsky
1.) It is nearly impossible to pay off the national debt:
“Nothing is so well calculated to produce a death-like torpor in the country as an extended system of taxation and a great national debt.” ~William Cobbett
This is because money is created out of debt in a one-to-one increase in public debt. The national debt is $20 Trillion. That means the (roughly) 234 million US Americans would have to pay approximately $62,000 each to pay it off. This includes babies, children, poor people, and homeless people. There are even those who claim that it’s mathematically impossible to pay off the debt. And almost every country is in debt to every other country. It’s the height of insanity.
As former Governor of the Federal Reserve Marriner Eccles said, “If there were no debts in our money system, there wouldn’t be any money.”
2.) There is no underlying thing backing money (it’s all an illusion):
“Federal Reserve notes are not redeemable in gold, silver or any other commodity, and receive no backing by anything. The notes have no value for themselves.” ~The Treasury
All money is fiat money. A dollar bill is a dollar bill because everyone agrees it’s a dollar bill. The dollar bill is not lawful money, but rather “legal tender.” Money used to be backed by a “gold standard” –which meant the government had $100 worth of gold in a vault from which they made a $100 bill that went out into the market (though even gold only has value because we’ve all agreed since time immemorial that it’s valuable). However, they moved away from gold years ago, so now we must take the government’s word for it that the note is worth $100. The bill itself is just an IOU note, made from thin air, based on debt, and laundered by the government.
Even the debt issue discussed in the first bullet is based on nothing, and is nothing more than a financial concept financiers agree on. The debt isn’t actually there. But since we all just go along with it, it affects us through inflation, and devaluation, and the sky-is-falling knee-jerk reactions to money meaning something only because we give it meaning. Money is little more than a cartoon in the brain that we’re addicted to watching.
3.) How to live off the grid:
“Live simply so that others may simply live.” ~Gandhi
You’re not “supposed” to know how to live off the grid, because then you can’t be controlled by the government. The more self-sufficient you are, the less money the corporations can make off you. The more rain water you catch, the less you’ll need to pay the water companies. The more windmills you build and solar panels you erect, the less you’ll need to pay the electric companies. The more composting toilets you install, the less you’ll have to pay plumbing companies. The more gardening you do, the less you’ll have to pay someone else for your food.
In short: the more independent you become, the less codependent you will be on the state. And the state doesn’t like that, because they like your money way more than they like your freedom.
4.) Planned obsolescence:
“Armaments, universal debt and planned obsolescence –those are the three pillars of Western prosperity.” ~Aldous Huxley
Speaking of making money off you, planned obsolescence is a way for companies to keep making money off you by capitalizing on your consumerist tendencies. Let’s face it, we’re a nation of consumers with Big Macs for brains and iPhones for hearts. We need our fix and we need it fast, and we are willing to fill all the landfills in the world, and then some, to get it.
Planned obsolescence is designed into a product to encourage the consumer to buy the next upgrade. Everything from toasters to automobiles, microwaves to cell phones are prone to planned obsolescence by greedy companies that know you will come back for more no matter how many times your things-things-things fall apart.
5.) Civil asset forfeiture:
“The State is nothing more nor less than a bandit gang writ large.” ~Ludwig Von Mises
As if police brutality, extortion, and overreach of power weren’t enough, unscrupulous police officials have been manipulating the deeply flawed federal and state civil asset forfeiture laws that give them permission to seize, keep, or sell any property allegedly involved in a crime. The key word is “allegedly.” Because most of the time property is taken without even being charged with a crime. That’s crazy!
Originally meant to be used on large-scale criminal organizations, it is now used almost entirely on individuals, ruining people’s lives over petty “crimes.” More and more police departments are using forfeiture to benefit their bottom lines. It’s less about fighting crime and more about profit. John Oliver did an excellent piece on the matter that gets right at the heart of the issue.
6.) The US imprisons more of its population than any other country (and profits off it):
“Some may say that jailing people over their debts makes poverty into a crime. Well if that’s true, maybe we should just cut out the middle man and put all poor people in jail. Of course, this will require new prison facilities, which we can build using people who can’t pay their prison fees. Not as workers, as the bricks.” ~Stephen Colbert
Living in what is widely considered the “land of the free,” this one should come as a body blow to anybody who truly believes in freedom. The total prison population has grown by 500 percent over the last 30 years. 500! The United States has less than 5 percent of the world’s population, yet we have almost 20 percent of the world’s total prison population. Even though crime is at a historic low.
The icing on this shit-cake is the deplorable fact that big corporations are making a killing off the prison system. Equal parts extortion and slavery, for-profit prisons do nothing in the way of rehabilitation and therapy, and everything in the way of profit and criminal relapse.
7.) Forced taxation is theft:
“Since few men are wise enough to rule themselves, even fewer are wise enough to rule others.” ~Edward Abbey
When taxation is forced, one cannot say they live in a free country. When taxation is not optional, the country forcing the tax is not free. Bottom line. If one does not pay their taxes, in such a country, they are threatened with violence or prison if they don’t pay. That is point-blank extortion. And since it is being done by an authoritarian government, it is naked tyranny.
If one feels like paying taxes, then they should feel free to pay. That’s fair, because that’s voluntary. But if the state is using its monopoly on violence to get money out of you, that is not fair, that is extortion. It really is that simple. If freedom is primary then voluntarism is paramount. The use of state services built off taxes is an entirely different matter with entirely different solutions, and is an irrelevant red herring to the issue at hand.
8.) You’re not “allowed” to be stateless, but you can be:
“A man without a government is like a fish without a bicycle.” ~Alvaro Koplovich
Statelessness is an alien concept in our world, even though it can be extended to all living beings “in principle” and “in theory,” at its irreducible bedrock truth, it is exceptionally difficult to be sovereign and stateless. This is because the entire world is plagued with the disease of statism. It is so second-nature to our existence that we never question it. We might as well be fish questioning water. But we are not fish. We are human beings with the ability for deep logic, higher reasoning, and basic common sense. That is, unless we are being oppressed into blind servitude and myopic subordination and we are unwilling to question things… And here we are.
Similar to living off the grid, you’re not supposed to know this one because then the corrupt nation states of the world would have less control over you. And, don’t be fooled, it’s all about control, as Mike Gogulski found out firsthand. Unfortunately, the cons outweigh the pros on becoming a stateless person (Though these two gents seem to be enjoying it). Especially because we are social creatures and most of the other social creatures in our world are conditioned statists. As Nietzsche famously said, “State is the name of the coldest of all cold monsters. Coldly it lies; and this lie slips from its mouth: ‘I, the state, am the people.’”
9.) The police are NOT legally obligated to protect you:
“There’s no weakness as great as false strength.” ~Stefan Molyneux
Most people falsely and ignorantly assume that it is the sworn duty of the police to protect and to serve. But it is actually the exception, not the rule. A cop protecting and serving is doing so in a humane capacity and not because he/she is obligated to do so. They just happen to be acting humanely while wearing a badge. The reality is that power tends to corrupt. This applies especially to police. And especially-especially to police that are trained to be offense-minded, oppressive, extorting, overreaching, and violent enforcers of a statist agenda.
The solution is not more ill-trained offense-minded police with too much power, but more well-trained defense-minded police with just enough power (a power with built-in checks and balances in place to prevent power from corrupting). In short: a complete eradication of the Thin Blue Line.
10.) We live in an oligarchic plutocracy disguised as a democratic republic:
“We may have democracy or we may have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both.” ~Louis Brandeis, Supreme Court Justice
In our world, money is power. Money concentrated in the hands of a few, means power concentrated in the hands of a few. And since power tends to corrupt if it goes unchecked, the people must be free to check it, lest tyranny prevail. But because of an overreaching militarized police force, the people are not free to check it. And here we are, slipping into tyranny.
If we lived within a horizontal democracy, we would have a better chance at being free. No masters, no rulers, and hence, no chance for power to become concentrated in the hands of a few. Easier said than done, sure, but nothing worth doing was ever easy.
As it stands, it is impossible to live freely within an oligarchic plutocracy. The plutocrats will simply continue buying up power by creating oppressive laws and “legal” extortion rackets that keep the people without wealth and power in a permanent state of poverty and powerlessness. Add to that the use of lobbyists and a fiat currency based on debt, and you have a nation of hoodwinked debt slaves under the delusion that they live in a free democratic republic.
(Featured image: “Thinking Monkey”, source unknown)
9-Year-Old Mexican Girl With Higher IQ Than Albert Einstein Already Studying to be Astronaut
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.
“Do not give up, and if you don’t like where you are, start planning where you want to be!”
7 Powerful Books That Will Unleash The Hidden Potential Of Your Mind
“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.
10 Things You Don’t Wan’t To Know About Yourself
“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.