When we blindly adopt a religion, a political system, a literary dogma, we become automatons. – Anaïs Nin
Imagine a world where each and every person happens to follow your beliefs in their entirety. They meditate or pray at the designated times, they have the right kind of diet, their values too, are fully in line with yours. Whether it’s a religion, political party, philosophy or spiritual system, I want you to take it and simply imagine that it applies to the whole world.
Now imagine that a child is born into this world. They would grow up to believe exactly what you believe. They would follow all the same practices, and be driven by all the same morals. Chances are, while at some point you may have thought that converting the whole world to your way of thinking, the scenario above likely horrifies you.
Classically, the term philosophy translates as “love of wisdom“, there is meant to be a constant ongoing discussion, a questioning, of what things mean and the right way to do things. Though in this, the questioning is everything, it is the discussion that is the purpose.
I’ve noticed a phenomenon in my own experience, which was reminded to me by Mark Manson’s wonderful new book. While I’ve learned and experienced loads of new things since living with more awareness in the past two years, it’s been a constant process of being a little less wrong about everything along the way. When I think about the ideas I had about myself or the world three months ago, I find it easy to laugh at myself. Then I realize that’s been happening every few months, and it’s bound to happen a few months from now. Meaning at this moment, I must be wrong about loads of things.
It’s hard to accept, we’re heavily invested in knowing the answers to everything. I’m not sure if we’re to blame or maybe society, culture, school, parents or anyone else, but we can sure take the power back to be okay with it. If you’re interested in growth, does it seem like a better mindset to know you’re wrong about things, and continue to learn, or would you prefer to think you’ve found “the answer” and now commit to holding strong to your ideas until the whole world begins to believe the same things as you?
Of course, there is a need to trust in yourself as well. But trust in your direct experiences to life, in what you’ve seen for yourself, well before you trust in an idea that sounds convenient that came from someone else. Discover for yourself how much benefit there is not to invest so much in what you know, and convincing the world of what you know. Chances are, you wouldn’t want a world filled with robots who only believe and behave in the same way as you. The beauty of life comes from our willingness to choose and commit to something that is born from our own experiences and understanding. Even if we end up having to read and analyze a lot just to drop it all and finally trust in ourselves.