Ideology can range from being merely annoying to being downright dangerous! What makes the true believer? Why do human beings feel the need to cling to a set of beliefs, doctrines, values? Clinging would be okay if they didn’t try to shove it down all of our throats! Eric Hoffer, author of the critically acclaimed book The True Believer, has something to say about this: “People whose lives are barren and insecure seem to show a greater willingness to obey than people who are self-sufficient and self-confident. To the frustrated, freedom from responsibility is more attractive than freedom from restraint.”
Now, I present to you the 6 reasons why you cling to an ideology…
#1 Fear of Change
People don’t like change, so they cling to an ideology and look for someone to blame OTHER THAN THEMSELVES. However, blaming yourself can also become a narcotic, and can keep you stuck for years. Fear is natural. It is how we, as hum-animals, are wired. It is not, however, an excuse!
Our culture dictates what we should and should not do. Ridicule from others usually keeps our rebellious spirit at bay. Hence, rebellion is squelched….like water to a flame. It is suppressed. Who suppresses this natural desire to create/achieve/have power over your situation?
Nobody. Absolutely no one.
The fear is culturally-induced. Most people are controlled by their own base instinct – that is, FEAR. Fear of ridicule and fear of failure keep men and women docile, and willing to live way below their potential. By the time most people reach college, they are already becoming a finished good designed for the workforce. For most, this is when the rebellious spirit is beaten out of them. Indoctrination is an essential component of a point-and-click society. You are no longer looked at as an individual, rather, you are your credentials. You are the next suit in line. You must submit to the collective mind.
Individuality is an illusion in the U.S. Before you object to this assertion, ponder a bit about what most people are motivated by. What is it that “they” want? What they have been conditioned to want….and yet, they think they are making unique choices.
A true individual does not seek the approval of the “herd.” He or she seeks their own approval. “Am I living up to my own expectations, not someone else’s?” This is the true Alpha Male. One who stands apart from the “rest.”
If you find the will to power deplorable, then this must offend you. There is no doubt about that. For those I say, go do what you do. Just do not bother me.
….Now notice the emotional reaction you may have had after reading the above. Anger? Irritation? Depression? Take note of it. Are you now projecting your emotions onto me? Am I the enemy?
#2 Human beings can’t stand uncertainty and hate to be without an explanation (idea-ology) for too long.
Explanations for why you are the way you are and finding the culprit to punish for the pain you feel day after day is nothing unique, and is a product of the wiring of the human brain. Remember, STRUCTURE determines FUNCTION. The way the brain is structured determines how it works. Fortunately for us, the brain is plastic and if you have the WILL to change your own brain, it will function in a way that’s beneficial to you. But right now, all it’s doing is causing you unnecessary suffering. I say “unnecessary” because suffering doesn’t end when you’re truly living. People who cling to ideologies, religion, delusions, and fantasies are afraid to face the existential nature of their situation, so they dull themselves with addictions of all types – drugs, video games, Facebook, online forums, television, porn, shopping, food, sex, etc. Those who do so forfeit their potential, and they know it, but asserting their cause over and over again (to themselves and others) comforts their fragile sense of self and justifies their “choices.”
#3 You Believe You Have a Right to Your Opinion
Sure, people have a right to their opinion … they also have a right to be stupid.
It’s a sign of a strong man or woman if one is willing to admit that they don’t know. Most people seem to have an opinion on just about everything.
There’s a hilarious example that I got from the absurd (I mean this in a good way) show It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. I recommend you watch the episode “Reynolds vs. Reynolds: The Cereal Defense.” Even something as widely accepted as the theory of evolution is put into question. A mock court hearing is held at Paddy’s Pub to determine who is at fault for spilling milk in Dennis’ car – the situation being that Frank (who has poor vision) crashes his car into Dennis’ while Dennis is eating a bowl of cereal in his own car. Is Frank at fault for driving poorly, or is Dennis at fault for eating a bowl of cereal while driving? Somehow Dennis and Dee turn “court” proceedings to the topic of evolution in order to discredit Mac (who is defending Frank). Mac asserts that evolution is “bullshit” to the astonishment of all parties present. Mac isn’t swayed, however, and proceeds to “prove” that evolution is bullshit, and flips the script by accusing Dennis of believing in evolution without having looked at the data himself. He reminds Dennis that some of Aristotle’s, Galileo’s, and Isaac Newton’s theories were later disproved. Hence, Dennis’ belief in evolution without having looked at the data himself is taking a leap of faith, just like religion. His conclusion is that all scientists are “bitches.”
Before you think that I don’t believe in evolution based on the example I gave you….STOP. I do not agree with Mac’s conclusion. I do think he has a point though. People take things at face value ALL THE TIME. Even if something like evolution seems like it is backed by reams of evidence (and it is)…why not then look at the data and verify it for yourself?
Blind faith in what scientists say is true, blind faith in what your parents say is true, blind faith in your teacher, doctors, and media personalities….this keeps you IMPOTENT in mind. “Believing” in evolution is like taking a leap of faith, but looking at the data and verifying it for yourself is not.
What I’ve learned over the years is that there is a certain strength in admitting you don’t know. If someone asks me about what I think of someone else, I tell him I don’t know the person well enough to make a clear judgment. There were many times when I judged a person on first glance or introduction, and later on (when I got to know this individual) I was taken aback by how wrong my initial reaction was. It’s the same with various schools of thought. It is very easy to judge. I used to have the same blind reaction to political views that I never gave any thought about, or sports that I never took the time to actually play. My opinions have changed countless times since, and I’m continually astonished at my vast ignorance. The more you know, the more you don’t know.
The next time you’re on lunch break and your coworkers bring up the news, notice their immediate response. You will be able to tell who’s bullshitting, who’s simply regurgitating some pundit’s opinion they heard on Fox News or CNN (etc.), or who just wants attention. Someone there may actually know what they’re talking about; someone who has thought things through and analyzed the topic in depth. That’s who you want to talk to, and that’s the person you might be wise to ally yourself with. Even intelligent people have their biases, however, and if she or he can only speak rationally with you up to a certain point, then make note of that. This is a common problem with the human brain. Being a “know-it-all” can be disastrous.
I advocate not knowing it all. By that, I do not mean quitting your quest for knowledge. On the contrary, press on! What I mean is that it wouldn’t be wise to “believe” you know it all. You can’t. There is no “all” to know. Life is an endless mystery, and that’s what makes “it” so fascinating. Strength in admitting you don’t know – that you don’t have the data or have not done the proper research to have an opinion yet – is admirable. These are the markings of a man who is unashamed, not because he might have low IQ, but because he has enough insight or self-awareness to admit “defeat.” So I don’t know. I’m not proud of that, but I am honest about it. I might not have an opinion on a certain topic today for you, but in the future, as I analyze the information that I research, I may come back to you with an opinion worth sharing. I’m not going to pretend I know what I am talking about, until I have at least examined the data.
#4 It’s Difficult If You’re Not Aware of the Process
First you feel anxious and depressed.
Then you attempt to seek out the cause of your misery.
The cause is (more likely than not) never you.
So, you project your anger onto someone or something else. It could be a person, religion, organization – it doesn’t matter. The crusade has begun. The scapegoat has been found, and now you have a purpose. Now it’s not YOU who is the problem. It’s THEM.
People do not like to face themselves as they ARE now. It’s so much easier to believe that you are what people think you are. How do we know ourselves? We know ourselves through others. Even that feedback, however, may be WAY off. You may think a person hates you, when in reality, they absolutely respect you, but have a hard time showing it. A person may see you as scum, but is that who you really are, or is the person merely projecting their own insecurities onto you and you’re accepting them as truth?
You may think of yourself as THE MAN or you may think of yourself as a LOSER. Either way your perspective is delusional. A positive attitude or a negative attitude is just that – an ATTITUDE. Ask yourself – why must you put on a face? Why can’t you face who you are NOW? Simple. It’s way too painful. So, what most people do is “live” through a fantasy or a distorted image of who they want to be or who they “see” themselves as being.
#5 You Are Brainwashed and Don’t Even Know It
Any community that eventually builds laws, codes, commandments – becomes rigid and inflexible. The reason? The human brain (as an instrument) does not like change. Change can be quite painful to the organism. Change threatens the security and comfort that was achieved. Because the organism seeks homeostasis, it takes a great deal of pain to shake it up enough to evolve. When there is enough instability, the human can either undergo deep transformation, or he can avoid facing the pain and find something else to distract himself by – a “higher” cause, for example. This is simply a defense against the onslaught of chaos and taking personal responsibility for one’s life.
Any group of robotic like-minded people has its own “gurus” and dogma. The teacher, however, can only attempt to communicate to you his perspective, and it is not the end-all or absolute truth. You want answers? There are none. Only choices. So choose wisely, and stay flexible. Always question your conclusions and intentions because the moment you may think you see the “big picture,” you fall into a trap. To assert that you have the truth with a capital T is to achieve mental retardation. To paint a picture that explains how things really are is to look through a very narrow lens (I’d much prefer a wide-angle lens). Limiting your ability to perceive more than you currently do will be a prison designed to filter/discard all incoming information that does not conform with your prejudice. Since you take it as absolute truth, you may stay in that prison thinking you have the answer and the solution. That reminds me of the time a Jehovah’s Witness came to my door.
#6 You Carry a Backpack of Anxieties
You are so tense that you throw up defenses to “protect” yourself from feeling vulnerable. The fear of losing control is the origin of all your supposed fears. Those fantasies and ideas about yourself and the world are like painkillers that keep you from realizing your potential.
Again, it’s not anyone else that’s making you miserable…unless you’re a slave, that is. That’s where the idea of “freedom from” comes from. Freedom from people who are trying to restrict/limit you in some way. However, the point of this article is to communicate to you that you cause most of your problems. It’s not Feminism, the Patriarchy, Blacks, Jews, Immigrants, Religion, Arabs, Commies, Latinos, Big Government, Evil, etc. People set limitations for themselves, which leads projecting their “inadequacies” onto you. They want to infect you with their world-view, and any deviation from that is thought to be blasphemy. You do this to others as well. It becomes a seemingly endless cycle of spreading lies and disinformation (lies sprinkled with enough truth to be believable). This is why groups are formed: the herd needs answers, and a charismatic leader(s) will give it to them. When laws are established and “set in stone,” the herd polices anybody who questions the authority figure(s). The rebel (one who thinks for him or herself) is seen as a threat and ostracized.
Hey, I’ll tell you a secret.
You’re all rebels, but are afraid to LIVE.
So do something about YOU. Get out of your own way.
… and please – Shut The Fuck Up.