Wednesday, 4 August 2010

On 'Truths' And Openness

The first step to knowing more about something is to be open to it.

It is virtually impossible to tell something to someone if he or she isn't prepared or willing to listen.

It's kind of like how the general rule applies when a guy tries to hit on a girl. How the guy looks and how the guy approaches accounts for 90% of the girl's response, while a mere 10% is accounted for by what is actually said during the pick-up.

A truth, concept, philosophy, idea or way of life is useful to a person only if he or she can (and is open to) accept it, handle it or incorporate it into his or her way of life or worldview.

There are so many truths out there. Some are in complete conflict with each other, but each still bestows upon their bearers much wisdom in dealing with reality. There are ideologies and worldviews such as Christianity, evolution, economics, science, just to name a few. Books have been written convincingly on all of these subject matters to espouse them, and perhaps as many have been written to expose their flaws and undermine them.

But the apparent fact of the matter is that, whether or not someone comes off feeling like he/she has learned something after reading a book, a lot of it has to do with how open or skeptical he/she already is prior to reading the book.

This is why, even if I have very strong views on many things, I've come to realize that there isn't really a point to pushing these thoughts on others when I'm with them. I will blog about my ideas and thoughts to a general and anonymous audience who may or may not accept my views or I may share them if I think people are interested to know, but in the presence of another who isn't asking me for my opinions or is skeptical of what I do, there's no bridge between us.

Between two or more people who aren't willing or prepared to connect on a level of understanding, nothing can ever be conveyed constructively. All sorts of useless outcomes will result, such as one person patronizing the other, tolerating each other in a politically correct manner, or emotional arguing, amongst other things.

When it comes to the crux of the matter, people seek knowledge because it helps them understand the world (as they perceive it given their own personal experiences) better. Everyone has cherished beliefs, some with more beliefs than others, but which are all important nonetheless in contributing towards firmly getting a grip on reality so that they may better navigate it. A truth or axiom is useless if it is incompatible with a person's system that already allows him or her to comfortably tide through life.

Of course, many people lead lives that appear less desirable to ourselves. This is what motivates some of us to try and influence and change others, because we think we know better. Maybe we do, if we lead secure and satisfied lives and believe we've got it made. But maybe we don't, because we lead different lives. Perhaps, to each his or her own.

Which is why if you so wish to influence somebody, do it by inspiring others. That is probably the best way (and the only way) to fully create openness in others towards what you do or believe. Be a living example of what you believe in and hope... no, - believe - that by standing up for the things and truths you believe in, others will be open to knowing more.

(However, the condition is as such: If a person appears not to know his/her way around because he/she simply is unthinking and uncritical, perhaps those who try to impose views on them can't be faulted for doing so. This, I suppose, is at the core of my issue with 'unthinkingness', because an unthinking population is fertile ground for anyone who has the desire to manipulate the masses. Evil people cannot do great evil without an easily manipulable army of blind followers.

This post addresses only people who do already hold cherished values and beliefs and with good reason for doing so.)

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