Unlearning

They say hatred, racism and prejudices are handed down to us by our forefathers. Nothing’s unique about any of these vices, the way they feel and the way they divide groups remains constant, cookie cutouts of heartbreak and strife. Are stereotypes lies?  No, they’re true. Are prejudices unfounded? No, they’re founded. Is there a reason to fear those who stray from a certain way of life? Yes, absolutely. According to ‘statistics’, yes.

What about ...

Punishing people for being different from ourselves is a tactic humans have been practicing since the dawn of time. As way of progress people are encouraged to ‘tolerate’ others and ‘accept’ their horrific differences. But what if someone were to tell us that by trying really hard to ignore the sins of others we skip the notion that maybe they’re not sinning? By numbing yourself to stereotypes one overlooks the notion that perhaps those stereotypes were lies to begin with? That by saying prejudice is unfounded, one presupposes that it’s even possible to found prejudice in the first place? That by half looking and not finding any reasons to fear others, we miss being able to celebrate them?

This post is inspired by the movie The Normal Heart, which generated a whole slew of amazing insights and blogs, check them out here!

Even though we rely on our minds and our logical way of thinking to make sense of the world and to build the foundation of our conscious’ paradigm, sometimes we need a flip, a transformation.

Fabulous

People are not just a string of mistakes, plotted points that chart their regression line of self worth. For that matter YOU are not just a string of mistakes, a normalized, standardized and weighed graph or chart, a measurable number of human.

Truth is, our minds aren’t that good at statistics in the real world anyways. Whatever graph, whatever number people assign each other goes through the kaleidoscopic lens of human cognition, perhaps the most flawed for all its genius.  Jordan Ellenberg in his book How Not to be Wrong outlines in extensive detail how people make common mistakes affecting their judgement, namely the survivorship bias, neglecting Bayesian inference, relying too much on linear thinking, neglecting the Cat in Hat problem, and focalism.  His book combines math and real world scenarios to show us our thinking patterns. And it’s almost scary, the things you believe without even thinking, the things you accept without even questioning.  Although the world is often victim to the blind beliefs of others, so are we to ourselves. By not changing and challenging the way we think we limit others, but we also severely undercut ourselves, probably even more since the person you spend the most time with is you.

Sometimes becoming the best version of who we are means unlearning ourselves so we can actually be more ourselves. Today, it’s no longer a luxury to question our ways of thinking and adapt new ways of seeing the world; it’s necessary. Not for self-torture via cognitive dissonance, and not to see the world as a better place. But to see the world how it truly is.

Which can be a wonderful place…

Dai Meng  {戴梦} Martina  

“I learned long ago not to trust ma thoughts,” She said, looking at her nails.

“That’s the path of insanity. If you can’t trust your own thoughts then how do you know who you are?” 

                    “You learn to become someone else, someone better.” ~Gumtree 


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