Every society has a collection of ideas that are not allowed to be questioned or criticized.
The people heretical enough to raise doubt and deviate in their perception of reality are often discouraged, ridiculed, ostracized, imprisoned, tortured, and sometimes even killed. It’s the oldest form of social control.
And it comes from the top down. Because those with a vested interest in the status quo, namely, governments and religions and businesses and institutions, find it devastating to be questioned. They are predicated on people marching in lockstep with the culture.
Keep the spirits happy, keep the tribe’s nest warm, show allegiance to the chief and keep the tribe safe.
Asimov, the prolific novelist, skeptic and biochemist, once wrote an essay on the power and importance of the heretic. He said he hoped orthodoxies never remain unchallenged, as they could become arthritic and senile, whereas the most absurd challenge may help to stir the blood and tone the muscles of an accepted body of knowledge.
Doubting spirit, questioning mind. Never being afraid of holding an opinion that’s at odds with what is generally accepted. That’s the only way we create real change.
I have an artist friend who draws cartoons about rules that don’t exist. Jason believes they’re cultural constructs that are stressing people out, sapping their energy and ensuring a boring life. And once we give ourselves permission to stop living by them, we can today to turn our lives into the adventurous story we deserve.
Remember, all unhappiness grows from that which goes unquestioned.
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That Guy with the Nametag
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