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We Don’t Have to Believe Everything We Know
September 20, 2016
Reflecting on my post secondary education, what, if anything, did I gain? Don’t get me wrong, the number is countless, metaphorically speaking. A main and important product was completing a perpetuating self-introspection. Consequently, this has heralded in overriding change, life adjustment, continued self-examination, change, reflection, and so on. Who could say it better? This quoted from his hierarchy apex, “What a man can be, he must be. This need we call self-actualization.” EAbraham MaslowD (1)
That’s not to say I exhibited 100% change. To the contrary I’ve retained, sad to say, many physical attributes. But, how does one number memories, personality, knowledge, personal history, familial connections, accomplishments, those static individually unique life experiences – circumstances?
So what has changed? I shed the ability to accept what I heard, what I was told, how to think, how to act, what to believe, what not to believe, what was true, and what was not true, and what I thought I knew. I began living by the mantra, “trust nothing.” I’m not trying to be anonymous; obviously, I’m not that original, if anything can be by this time in our existence. (1) John 4:1 “My dear friends, don’t believe everything you hear. Carefully weigh and examine what people tell you.” (2) While this passage refers to John’s warning, all those who speak of God aren’t necessarily of God, it still applies to anything and everything. Don’t just teach your children to read. Teach them to question what they read. Teach them to question everything. (3) It’s common fare to start my classes with this thought. I tell them, “don’t even believe me, find out for yourself.” Sure they look at me like I have three heads, but the words have been presented to them.
One of the most important and liberating (sometimes I miss the ignorance I enjoyed for soooooo many years) changes education brought me was to actually make my own mind up based on finding, ingesting, chewing up, and processing all possible information available to me on any and all subjects. I had, and sometimes still have, difficulty learning that things I knew were and are actually wrong. Just like when it turns out a conspiracy theory is indeed, not a theory but truth, reality. It can hurt one’s head.
Which brings me to how and when we treat this truth and reality as opinion and perspective, when it is actually just that. If we are to be honest with ourselves and with the world, this has to be a consideration. The more I swish the water, it all becomes clear as mud. Politics, “science”, faith, reality, truth, opinion, right, wrong, time, all these man made concepts, all these things we, well, know.
Maslow, A.H. (1943). “A Theory of Human Motivation”. In Psychological Review, 50 (4), 430-437.
King James Version (KJV) Public Domain https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+John+4%3A1-6&version=MSG accessed 9/11/2016