Living in this world as an individual whose life is a set of linear experiences over time, we may fall into the trap of seeing things only from our own point of view, unable to see the other side of an argument because of our own lack of experience. This is compounded when we surround ourselves with others who have only had similar life experiences, resulting in an echo chamber that amplifies our own beliefs and reassures us that our positions are the correct ones.
A simple example of this can be shown any given day on social media, where we argue about concepts that have been neatly placed into dichotomies that force us to “pick a side.” Without a variety of life experiences, it becomes easy to pick one of the sides and then get swept into an argument where we disregard the experience of others, which may be different than our own.
I recently rewatched the cult classic movie They Live, and I was reminded how poignant this movie from 1988 remains to this day. Starring former professional wrestler "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, the movie is about a global conspiracy of intergalactic beings who have infiltrated Earth to use humans as their slaves, all while giving them the illusion of happiness under the guise of consumption. After Piper's character begins to "see" what's really going on, he tries in earnest to wake up other humans, but so many times in the movie, the humans try their hardest to stay asleep, culminating in an overly drawn-out wrestling throwdown in a back alley with one of the other main characters. When interviewed once by a radio host, Piper said that the movie was actually a documentary, not fiction.
Through human history, our perception of reality has undergone drastic changes, but only after accepted paradigms were shattered. Unfortunately, it's not easy to shatter patterns that have served us in the past.
People get uncomfortable when called out on their stuff. I know I do, anyway. Sometimes, an individual gets called out, and sometimes it’s a group or culture. For example, I often post intense political or scientific ideas on Facebook, such as alternative views on reality that are not currently accepted by the mainstream. Most “Facebook debates” are framed into a dichotomy. Someone is either on the popular side of the argument or the unpopular side. Nevertheless, as much as we might try, it can be nearly impossible to find truth between only two choices. To take the evolution versus creation debate, I believe there is evolution, but there is also an unseen creative consciousness beyond entropy that shapes it. Since this theory doesn’t fit into the black/white dichotomy between Darwinian evolution and biblical creation, people get uncomfortable.
Copyright (c) 2015 Russell Eric Dobda