The battle of lifelong learning
I find a lot of my own suffering and that of others comes from lack of understanding. Once you see this and notice this as the main source of conflict, arguments and even wars— then your next question and motivation will probably be to seek out further understanding of others.
It’s quite common for young people to use the words I need to ‘find myself’ — what they are really saying is they need to figure out how this world works and where they stand in it.
So how do you go about figuring out how the world works? Well first ask yourself what is your first experience of the world? You might say in the family home, yes, but you need to go further, when were you first a living being? In the womb. That is your first world, which is your mother. So essentially you come out of your mothers world.
So figure out that world — go to war on understanding your mother. It was her world, her experience and perspective on life that made you who you are today, so to truly find yourself, you need to understand the source, which is your mother, and to master that world.
So what should you pay attention to when understanding your mother? Well you can try to simply make her happy. That’s a great method because you will quickly come to realize — through doing — that her happiness is such an unstable thing to try to aim for and accomplish on a regular basis. However, doesn’t mean it isn’t useful to know, it most certainly is, you will need it when you move to the next stage which is to become a master of your own world.
So back to the question of how the world works. Lets say you get to a place where you feel comfortable with what you know about your mother and father too and you start to feel a sense of social mastery per se.
Great, don’t just stop there. Many people do and I will explain why it happens that way soon. So you are in this space where you understand the world from which you came out of, and you want to start forging a path forward, so how could you ensure that your reality (world) is most shared among the masses so you can survive? Ask yourself, where do you sit in terms of your ‘perspective’ on life and world views amongst the global population? If you’re reading this, you are an English speaker. Well already, there are more people in the world who do not speak English. So that means there is a huge percentage of people who do not share your reality. That’s a problem. And that means the likelihood of survival in the future, rides on you knowing and understanding these other peoples perspectives.
Lets say you don’t have much money, you’re not in the movie industry, you don’t own the paper press, your family is of no significant influence on how stories are shared which helps in having shared realities. So how do you go about solving that problem?
Simple, you seek out people who are different to what you know and currently understand. Keep going with that and you will begin to find patterns. Patterns that help you in knowing what is a shared reality and what isn't. Friends are a great source of information here. Find out what your friends like, what they are interested in, what music they listen to, how they live, what their experience of their parents are, and it will help you to calibrate that against your own knowledge base.
There are a lot of people on this earth that eat different food to you, listen to different music, speak differently, live in different looking homes, there are a lot of differences if you look for them. Where people in the past have gone wrong is they stop at the point where they only seek to understand their own kind. Because of the comfort of it. Because it feels good to the ego to be able to master that world and be respected by peers and family for being a master in that role. It’s easy to be motivated to understand your own, it’s what you have grown up to know. The reality is, you might be operating in a reality that will not survive simply because you didn’t bother to understand people different to you.
But what about ‘bad’ people you might ask? Lets say you go out there and seek out people in different cultural backgrounds but it somehow still fits in your model of understanding about what is ‘good’. Do you know how you came to the conclusion of what is good? Only by understanding what is ‘bad’ can you truly appreciate ‘good’ things when they happen. So do you just go into prisons and start speaking to murderers? Well no!
By this point, you will have amassed enough experiential data from family, from friends and from the broader society, enough information for you to reprogram yourself based on that broader definition of what reality ‘actually’ is. Because your mind looks for patterns, it will consciously or subconsciously look for hidden clues of commonalities each time you interact with someone new. Again, its an inbuilt survival mechanism, an amazing function of being human, our need for finding connection.
You will now have a much more richer base from which to create your own perspective by questioning the negative and positive reinforcement you received as a child when you had no knowledge of how the world works and you were more susceptible to their world views. You will be surprised how much that imprints on you but that’s ok, you don’t need to get angry at parents, again just understand they only knew what they knew and people only do what they think is right, based on what they know. You made it your goal to understand and know more, so you have the opportunity to reframe a lot of things for yourself by being self aware of what you react to negatively and positively and questioning the assumptions that underlie those reactions. Did they come from your parents world? Your friends world? Or the broader society?
Once you recognize the source of the negative/positive feedback — aka whether it was from family, friends or society, that will help you to inform what you decide to do about shaping who you are. Whether you want to continue doing something, behaving in a specific way or not. Here is where a lot of people get caught and most likely quit as well. We are more wired towards wanting to be loved and feel like we belong and if we go to war with our own kind — aka family/friends then that doesn’t fulfil that need does it? And they can make you feel miserable if they want to they might send you warnings along the way this is not be confused with real threats. They are simply signals to you that they feel uncomfortable that their world might be changing.
If you have gone so far as to develop a better understanding of humans and if you truly care about your survival and that of your children in the future, then you will know not to pay attention to that and see it for what it truly is. Their fear of losing their shared reality— as in what they already know. Remember what I said about becoming a master of your mothers world and not stopping there? Yeh well, the thing about that is you will need to relinquish control because it is something we like as humans is to feel a sense of control of how things operate. So if family and friends are getting cranky or reacting it’s most likely to do with control of their world. They feel like a master in theirs, they feel in control and if you have gathered more information than they have about other people and you are forging a new path for yourself, that requires them letting go of where you sit in their world view. And here is another hot tip, they will misconstrue it as a ‘disrespectful’ but really what it actually is them lacking the understanding of what you are trying to achieve and what you are aiming for, they want to remain masters in their worlds and to be that way, they need you to be in a position that they are comfortable with you being in so they don’t have to change their world views, because that takes effort and discomfort. If your intentions are truly to understand, there is no need to be afraid of their backlash again it’s their misunderstanding of what your goal is.
You constantly doing what your family or friends expect you to do because it’s consistent with their world view, might not be helpful to you and your survival, because what if their reality is a minority? Then it should be let go of, that is the only way we can evolve as humans and for you to survive is to question all that your parents know and take only that which helps you to survive. They will hate it honestly. And actually many people have probably died trying this very thing, simply because they have not dared to go as far as you have in questioning realities and understandings.
So long as you are prepared for the feeling as if you are going to die, because people can keep you alive by what they think of you in their minds. And you will be surprised how unwilling they are to let go of that idea of you in their minds. Remember, it is comfortable for them to hold you in a position that is consistent with their own point of view. You will know this though in your first goal which is to understand your mother, you will understand very quickly, that she actually likes you more when you behave similar to her because she doesn’t have to bother trying to figure you out, it’s like looking in a mirror to her.
But here is the trick to getting past this phase which is the most ‘dangerous’ socially for people. Focus on taking care of your physiological needs and you will realize that you can survive and you are able to move beyond the world views that you grew up with. This isn’t for the faint hearted though. You need to trust in the people you met along the way that were ‘different’ to you. You need to be able to know what feels right, you need to question what other people’s motives are when they show resistance towards you and you need to be able to reflect on your own behavior and course correct whenever you find yourself moving out of a reality that is not commonly shared because again, only shared realities amongst the largest population will ensure your survival. So be willing to let go of what you thought you knew and let go of the feeling of mastery and be willing to learn from scratch about a complete strangers way of thinking, it might just be the thing that helps generations to come.