June 13, 2011

You Know What You Know, Or Do You?

Why do we believe in the things we do? Why do we say the things we say? How did we become who we are today?

How often do people actually take a step back and ask themselves these questions? It's rare for most people to be completely honest with themselves and self-reflect. People are so used to living their day-to-day lives following rules and traditions that society has set up. They have these preconceived notions of how the world works because their teachers or parents told them so when they were younger. As they grow up, experiences that resonate with what they were taught only strengthen their beliefs, whereas those that threaten those beliefs are often disregarded.

The truth is most people's view of the world is clouded by beliefs and ideologies passed on to them. It hinders their ability to really think for themselves. When something comes along and challenges their world view, most people try to rationalize by coming up with stories and ludicrous explanations to defend their existing beliefs so that they don't have to alter them. The last thing people want to do is admit they are wrong.

One of the hardest things for people is to learn to question themselves and challenge their own beliefs. It's difficult when they teach you as an adolescent how you should behave, how things should be and what's supposedly right or wrong. Most people try to mold themselves into preconceived roles as they grow older. It's true what they say: You are who your friends and family are. People gravitate towards those who share their opinion. They seek out similar people that only reconfirm what they know. This vicious cycle often lends to people becoming so stuck in their heads that they can never get out. That is, unless something drastic happens and their view of the world is challenged.

When your world is turned completely upside-down, what you once knew and what was familiar all of a sudden fail to support what's happening. The moment you go through hardships and make mistakes is when you start to really reflect upon yourself. It triggers a series of questions about what you think you know. The thought process may lead to heightened self-awareness. That's when you really learn who you are and can decide what's right or wrong for you.

Think about what you believe about today's controversial issues. What are your views on gay rights, sex education, religion, health care, drug legalization, etc? Chances are you know firmly where you stand on these issues. The question is why.

4 comments:

  1. Agree to each word you say. I started questioning my beliefs at a tender age of ten and realized I was really an atheist. I still am and I'm glad all the wonders it has done for my life!

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  2. Ah. Thanks for sharing your insights, Priyank. (Is that where the Lucifer stuff came from? Just playing.) Hehe.

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  3. Gernot11:50 AM

    Amen to everything you said here. I agree with you 100%. Unfortunately, most people are afraid to step out of their comfort zone and challenge their views and opinions. A lot of people behave just like sheep by blindly following other people because it seems to be the safest thing to do.

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  4. Rasheed7:34 PM

    I completely agree that people ignore what they see in life that contradicts what they have been taught or are intent on believing, and at the same time making extra note of anything they see that reaffirms what they have been taught. It's something called confirmation bias. I won't lie, even I'm guilty of it myself.

    One example is if you think the world is out to get you, you will ignore/forget all the good stuff that happens and focus on all the bad. Another simple example is thinking you are always in the slow lane, when indeed you just forget the times you are in the faster lanes. Confirmation bias is HUGE and it's everywhere.

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