Saturday, October 17, 2009

True or Untrue?

Here is something I learned:

If something comes from an authority, from internal reasoning or carries emotional weight it is not the same thing as being true. Neither is the popularity of an idea or way of believing and thinking.

Also: if you fear some form of ostracism or punishment for expressing or even having doubts, that's another sign. There are so many!

To get around this I tried raising my standard of evidence (would an independent and impartial observer or test find the same thing?) and learning how to stand outside of myself and putting it all in perspective. Not easy, and I had to swallow some bitter pills as a consequence, but it's entirely worth it!

I had a couple of watershed experiences when I was about 7. As a result, I told myself that I that I should always be willing to be wrong, even if I had invested years and resources into something I believed was right.

At that age I first learned about the Nazis and was stunned. The other experience was having brainwashing explained to me. When I heard about these, I remember staying awake at night thinking that if I were careless, it might even be possible to brainwash myself!

All this leads me to a film recommendation. The film that sparked the brainwashing revelation was a Charles Bronson and Donald Pleasence flick called Telefon (1977).

It's about sleeper spies who live in suburban North America. They have no idea that they are in reality Soviet spies programmed to destroy The USA's infrastructure. They were activated by these words by Frost:

The woods are lovely, dark and deep
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
Miles to go before I sleep.

It shook me that someone could live a lie so thoroughly and not know it. It's funny, the things that shape us.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Saints...or Reindeer?

I'm new and I wanted to share something that I think is humorous. A lot of people believe some pretty bizarre things, and my mind plays with their words whenever they talk about them.

For instance, whenever I hear someone say 'god', 'allah', or 'buddha', etc. I always imagine them saying 'Santa Claus', 'Tooth Fairy', or 'Easter Bunny' instead.

i.e.: "Thank God I caught the train on time!" = "Thank Santa I caught the train on time!"

Not to belabor the point, but here's a real life example. I was listening to a BBC report about the pope canonizing saints. The presenter asked a Protestant leader for his opinion and he replied with, "I think that they shouldn't focus so much on worshiping the saints because Jesus is what it's really about. Without Jesus, you wouldn't have Christianity in the first place."

What I imagined him saying was: "I think that they shouldn't lavish so much attention on the reindeer because Santa Claus is what it's really about. Without him, you wouldn't have flying reindeer in the first place."

It just gives me a chuckle. I was going to write more but just noticed that 2:00 AM is just around the bend. If you happen to be reading this (whoever 'you' may be) feel free to leave a comment. One thing I believe is that everyone is unique and does have something to contribute to the betterment of the world, even if they never use it.