Monday, July 13, 2015

So, What Are You, Really?

I'm taking a break from posting chapters from my book to ask a simple question of people, whether they are religious or not.

What are you? Really?

When we are born, we are a clean slate.* We know nothing beyond the instinctual and reflexive (crying, suckling, etc.). From that moment on, we become products of our environments.

Like it or not, we become subjects of indoctrination. We may be taught that where we live is the best place to live. We may taught that our form of government is the best form of government. We are taught that the gods of our ancestors are the only true gods. Sometimes, we're even taught that the sports teams from our locality are the best sports teams.

We are molded and educated by the world around us.

Many are content to stick closely within that mold. It's comforting. We can bond with others who were molded in the same manner. We can get a sense of community.

Others break out of the mold. We look at the world beyond what we've been taught and it causes us to question the validity of it.

This often leaves us as outsiders, alienated and shunned by those who haven't broken out. In some cases, there are some who would do us harm because we're perceived as a threat to the status quo.

So, what are you? Have you dared to look beyond your indoctrination to see what the rest of the world has to offer? Can your indoctrination stand up to scrutiny when viewed from without? Can you look upon it objectively? How often do you question it?

For me, this kind of questioning is a daily thing. I challenge what I think and, from time to time, I find that my assumptions (which are based on my world view) are wrong.

I did this as a young person and now that I'm in my mid 50s, it's becoming increasingly important. This kind of introspection keeps me honest with myself and those around me.

Try it as an exercise. Read other perspectives. Travel. Talk with others who don't believe the things that you do.

You may find it reveals a great deal about the world in which you live... and even more about you.

*Ignoring the concept of original sin, one of the most heinous doctrines to plague mankind.