Many religious philosophies suggest that our reality is greatly influenced by the world around us and that we, in turn create the reality of the world. Almost universally these beliefs say the positive or negative elements we’re exposed to, become part of us and we in turn reflect and amplify those elements to all around us.
It’s always sounded a bit “Chicken or Egg” to me, and I was willing to ascribe the concept to whichever quaint religion was preaching it. I’d dismiss the idea with an appropriate level of condescension.
As I’ve been reading “self help” books, (I KNOW! Many of these books are nothing more than literary snake-oil) in an attempt to get a handle on my future, I’ve run across the same philosophical underpinning again and again. Except this time, those philosophies are coming from more scientific venues. Ok, psychologists, and neuroscientists, If you’re more of a “Sheldon” in your beliefs, you still think of that as hokum too.
Nonetheless, this has given me pause.
In many cases in my life I’ve chosen to believe and accept as true, information about “we humans” from ancient cultures. (Within Reason) I believe that wisdom is wisdom regardless of it’s source and that we shouldn’t have to re-invent the wheel every 200 years or so, even though it seems we do.
So it occurs to me that I’m inconsistent and perhaps have been discarding valuable information in a biased way because it came from a religion.
Someone once said to me “Perception is reality,” I’d have accepted that as a truth except that perception was not reality when it was inconvenient to that person.
Still let’s look at that phrase. If perception is reality then reality is in fact just your perception of events or stimuli. Believe me, that phrase takes pages and pages of psychobabble and puts it into a single packet. I just saved you a ton of very tedious reading.
We know that at least part of this statement is completely true. When we touch something we feel that it’s real through tactile sensors in our hands.
What if being happy or angry is really nothing more than the way we choose to process it? Doesn’t that open a whole new world of possibilities, and wouldn’t that be worth at least some investigation?
So how do you test the premise?
The primary thing seem to be filtering your input and controlling how you process negative input.
As Adam Savage humorously said on Myth Busters “I reject your reality and substitute my own.” Turns out if you want to be a happier person there might be a lot of truth in his humorous quip.
This is of course not to say that you need to lobotomize yourself. But suggests that you make damn sure your don’t internalize or dwell on the barrage of negative things happening in the world.
After all we don’t all want to be poster children for stupidity as the Occupy Hippie Meme girl has become.
I feel sorry for this girl. I’m guessing that by now, she’s cut her hair, changed her style, dumped the glasses, is wearing Channel suits, and working for a defense contractor somewhere. I really do wish her well and hope that in time she fades from our collective memory to be replaced by someone more deserving of the national ire. I will say this, as a meme, she’s had staying power.
It’s gotta be tough being the face of a generation and being used time and again to represent irrational thinking.
For me this means avoiding the news completely. Right now, I can’t say I’m going to watch just one news broadcast or read GoogleNews for just a few minutes.
I get pissed, then I want to understand an event.
Palmyra being blown up by ISIS for example, pisses me off to no end. I’d like to see ISIS carpet bombed with Nukes every time I read about another building being destroyed in the name of their hate. The existence of those buildings and artifacts didn’t harm or mean jack shit to ISIS. The could have ignored the city and moved on.
Which is exactly what I should do, instead of getting angry about it and reading all the articles I can find, then getting angrier. I need to acknowledge that it happened, there’s nothing I can do about it and move the hell on. I need to learn how to not take the actions of others so personally.
Someone once told me that when I get angry, sad, or depressed, about stuff that other people do I’m giving those people, (In most cases, people I don’t even like) power over me. He went on to say, subconsciously my brain knows this, and responds by getting angry over the loss of control. But if I could be really honest with myself, acknowledging that I couldn’t change whatever happened, not take it personally, and not give strangers or others the power in the first place, I’d be a lot happier.
I didn’t understand it then. I figured it was all a bunch of hokum psychobabble. I’m not completely sure I understand it now, but I’m willing to reconsider the issue.
In my reading, I stumbled across another philosophy which suggests that anger, depression, and bitterness are nothing more than distractions from your greater potential. (Not sure I buy that, in the lofty sense they presented it.) I am willing to buy into these feelings distracting me personally from my goals.
I’m equally willing to accept that not achieving my goals feeds these negative emotions because I berate myself for “Failing”. And there it is again, Negative emotions feeding negative emotions. How do you kill an ouroboros?
It’s always been easy for me to be negative. As I’ve become less young, it’s become a lot easier to feel that the world is against me and rail against circumstances over which I have zero control and then feel angry for having been upset about it in the first place.
It’s completely non-productive, I understand this, but it’s too easy for me to do.
Raisuli: To Theodore Roosevelt – you are like the Wind and I like the Lion. You form the Tempest. The sand stings my eyes and the Ground is parched. I roar in defiance but you do not hear. But between us there is a difference. I, like the lion, must remain in my place. While you like the wind will never know yours. – Mulay Hamid El Raisuli, Lord of the Riff, Sultan to the Berbers, Last of the Barbary Pirates.
While considering this whole mess, I was reminded of the quote above. It’s from a movie, The Wind and the Lion, not to be confused with The Lion in Winter, another good film.
There is so much in this world that is out of my control. I need to take a step back, focus on my reality and leave the negativity of others behind.
I need to find and lay claim to my place…