Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Deep Thoughts


I've been having epic lying-in-the-garden-with-my-book evening sessions after work, walks, and enormous spring cleaning and office organization weekends. Also been thinking deep thoughts, while I observe the bees working merrily among my weeds. (My weeds are doing SO WELL! I am really proud. And the bees and butterflies are thrilled.)

Some deep thoughts concern internet responsibility, and I have posted a few rants on facebook about how dumbasses should check their facts before they share 'news' about a new kind of deadly spider or Ryan Gosling's baby or how cancer can be cured by eating llama poop on alternate Tuesdays. People share these things, and say "OMG this is unbelievable!"

Guess what, it's unbelievable because it's PRETEND! Someone made it up! And you are a dumbass!

And my brain is going "Oooooh, you are being mean. Just because YOU are a perfect genius of complete brilliance and you know everything, doesn't mean you can be a know-it-all pedant at your friends and family." (My brain can be horribly sarcastic sometimes.)
"A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes" - Mark Twain
And then I had a long conversation with my son, where I said that just because a scientific theory has not been disproved yet, doesn't make it un-disproveable, and that blind faith in science was as bad as religion. He said I was a crazy lady, because I mentioned Panspermia as a think-outside-the-box mad theory that has not been proved or disproved because it is a THEORY, just like, say, evolution. And then I remembered that teenage reality is fixed and absolute, and there is no point arguing with them. But it was too late, I am now a conspiracy theorist in his eyes, who believes that life on Earth was seeded by aliens.

It could be worse, I suppose.

I have been wondering (and researching) how humans get these fixed ideas about things. Why we believe 'unbelievable' stuff we see on the internet. Why we have faith in climate change, or religion, or that women should cover up, because men are so weak and stupid they cannot take responsibility for their actions. We like to Believe, and if facts come along that challenge those beliefs, we feel stressed out - stress hormones actually flood our brains and put us on the defensive. This is part of what makes us social humans, bonding us together with the cultural beliefs of our tribe. Anything that threatens our beliefs is evil and must be stamped out!

If someone is repeatedly taught something as a child (say, breasts are immodest and breastfeeding in public is disgusting) then no amount of logic will make that person feel comfortable with the sight of a breastfeeding mother. They will make up all sorts of reasons to convince themselves that women should not bare their breasts, even making others responsible - "Oh *I* am fine with it, but you will offend the elderly/those who cannot breastfeed/the priest/men who cannot control themselves and will have to rape someone."

I have always felt that the truth is in people - if you can make them laugh, put them at ease, and introduce them to possibilities then maybe their minds can be opened to the beauty of truth. There is so much cruelty, desperation and injustice in the world, because of fear. And making people more afraid - "You must believe this truth, because you are wrong and you will suffer!" - will not bring anyone to truth. I know this. I have tested this in lectures with young people, who only needed to laugh and be respected to see truth for themselves. They needed to learn that they were intelligent enough to work it out for themselves. If we can look at someone and say, "I see your truth, and it is good. What do you think about this idea?" then conversation becomes possible, and everyone walks away wiser and more thoughtful.

Usually, I am good at shutting up and letting lies and stupidity blow away. I like all people - even religious fanatics, even gang members, even liars, because I think that all people are a precious and fundamental part of the universe. But for the last few weeks I have had a hard time with Patience and Acceptance. Maybe I'm getting older. But not wiser. I'll work on that.

ॐ Namaste,

Nan





2 comments:

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

here here! Three cheers for reasonable conversation! For talking AND listening! I wish people would step back and consider the big picture more often before digging in their heels...

Nan Sheppard said...

One thing I learned from 'uneducated' gang members was how wise people can be. We all have something to share. I am calming down now :)