Monday, July 5, 2010

Rise and fall

Anyone out there a student of history? I will admit that I should read more about history. Of course one must always remember that the history recorded is almost always that of the victor, or those currently in power. One of the reasons I have a hard time with people who take the bible, or for that matter any ancient text, literally is that humans tend to rewrite information as they see it during their own life and times. They seldom try to understand it from the viewpoint of the ones who lived it. So much of history, religious or political, has been rewritten, revised and fabricated so often that it becomes very hard to tell what is truth and what is fiction. Yet many will take this information and repeat it as if it were irrefutable fact. It will then be used to rationalize why we are allowed to treat certain people as less than human, or force people to live certain ways because according to our "history" that's the way it should be.

Does anyone ever stop to realize that other's views may just as viable as our own. Think about it, do the 'bad guys' (whoever they might be), think of themselves as bad people. Do Muslims sit around thinking that they are somehow evil because they don't believe in Christianity? Certainly Christians don't think that they are evil because they are not Muslims. What makes one viewpoint correct and all others wrong? Simply your perspective, or the perspective of the group you identify with. Growing up my father always proposed having an open mind, but when we got into arguments I discovered that I was allowed to open my mind as long as my views were the same as his.

Many people walk around thinking their minds are open, but as soon as a concept comes along that goes against their core beliefs their minds close rapidly. Opening your mind doesn't mean you have to agree with everything anyone else says. It means that you put your fears aside and listen, truly listen to other's ideas, without automatically shutting down. Keep in mind that today we live in a world that 50, 100, 1000 years ago would seem terribly wrong. Once keeping slaves (in some parts of the world still today) was acceptable. Once divorce was totally unacceptable. Today there are still wrongs that need to be righted, but there are still people who hold to conventions, because their parents did, or a book tells them it should be so.

If we really want to evolve into truly conscious, intelligent, forward thinking beings, we need to put aside our fears, our dogma and our preconceived notions and start looking at the world differently. There is a quote, "insanity is doing the same thing over and over, but expecting different results". We keep trying to do the same things and they are not working anymore. It's time to realize that new is not always bad. That doesn't mean that every idea out there has merit, but I have found that sometimes there is a small kernel of truth in even the most harebrained idea. Perhaps if we can mine out the kernels we can build something amazing.

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