Sunday, June 20, 2010

Why Do People Disagree With Me?

      My late mother-in-law was a sweet lady, and I loved her. She always gave lip service to the belief that a variety of people was a good thing, but I know that deep down she disapproved, at least slightly, of those whose lifestyle differed from hers. How do I know? The compression of the lips, or a slight shake of the head was a dead giveaway. After much thinking about it, I have concluded that we all have a similar unstated bias.
      Semanticists have long known that we process reality through an unconscious filter: a dynamic pattern of attitudes, habits, internalized values, and modes of thinking. It is through this process that we relate ourselves to the world of things and people, observe and judge them, and express ourselves.
      Some of the contents of this filter we receive at birth - certain talents or handicaps; others from our culture – vocabularies, games, dances, greetings ,etc. As a result, most of the things that “come naturally” to us we have actually absorbed unconsciously from our life experiences.
      Each of us passes through a unique series of events during our lifetime, consequently, no two of us look at a given event in an identical way. For example, imagine a person in a hospital bed when his doctor says, “It is cancer.” The patient undergoes emotions ranging from fear to concern for his family in the event he is no longer able to provide for them. The doctor is thinking about modes of treatment which would be most effective for treating this form of cancer in this particular patient. And the hospital statistician unemotionally checks a box on his form. One event – three reactions.
      Some of us look at such an event through a religious filter, e.g., cancer is God’s/Allah’s will. Others have a scientific filter – cancer is caused by a virus or one’s lifestyle. Again, how one sees a particular event is a result of passing through one’s individual filter.
      Because each of our filters is both unique and unconscious, one’s actions may sometimes be unpredictable even to oneself. They may range from risking one’s life to save a buddy on the battlefield, to shooting a rival lover.
      According to Albert Einstein, “Every one who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the Universe - a spirit vastly superior to that of man, and one in the face of which we with our modest powers must feel humble.”
      He was partly right – there is a spirit loose in the Universe, however, “vastly superior” implies some sort of intelligence which man cannot understand. But the actual spirit is blind. It has no agenda. It just keeps on doing its thing regardless of the consequences. It takes what it finds at a particular instant and uses it to create something new for the next instant. The past becomes the present becomes the future. The Spirit is the act of creating. It does not pass judgment on its result – that is left up to man and his filters.
      Thus we have liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans, good and bad, order and chaos – all the “opposites.” Perhaps if we tried to understand each other's filters a little better, we might find they are not opposites, but the ends of a continuum. Maybe we could all edge a little more toward the middle.
      But don’t hold your breath.
      But if the gods could not be controlled, perhaps they could be induced to communicate their plans for the group. Under divine inspiration, priests and priestesses could prophesy as to the will of the particular god they served. In most cases the achievement of divine inspiration required the practitioner to become temporarily possessed by the god. This was the beginning of religion.
      Man Takes Control – The Spirit Runs Through It.

      The book or a free download is available in paperback or on Kindle.

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