One of the things that I feel I truly know, is that I don’t know anything. Perhaps I know a little about a little, but the truth is that in a Universe that is constantly expanding and evolving the state of literally everything is always in flux. Your memory of past events is always changing, and the present that you are currently experiencing is also traveling and expanding as well. You don’t believe me? Check this out. You are in the present. You are in the present. You are in the present. Look back at those sentences. Yup. You are still in the present but what is going on and what you know has already changed.
I read a lot. I post a lot about stuff that interests me. And oftentimes I will read something that I am sure is true, only for that thing to be debunked or updated a few pages or books later. So what does this mean and why I am writing this? Well, honestly I am writing right now to exercise something that happened today. Something that concerns the topic of not knowing, conversation, and a hard turn I took with my life after deleting Facebook and deciding to be extra selective about who I let into my space.
Yesterday or Today, honestly uncertain, I posted a quote I read to Instagram. It was something that caught my attention and I like to put these nuggets out into the universe to see what happens with them. As a pre-frame I would like to share an opinion on a lot of what I see going on in the world, especially in the media and social media. I think we see people write things and post them, or share things, and we immediately assign value to not only the statement but the person behind the keys that wrote or shared whatever it was. This to me is dangerous and one of the biggest problems we are facing as a people. It is especially challenging because we are stuck inside and have to do most of our communicating, at least outside of the home, via some sort of internet web page or app. But I digress, I shall start a new paragraph and get back to the quote.
The book I am reading is called Sapiens. It was published in 2011, and is written by a man from Israel named Yuval Noah Harari. Harari is a historian and an atheist. Many of his views are written from the context of his atheism and that suits me fine because I like to explore as many facets of belief as I can. I, for those of you who don’t know, am not an atheist but am not a theist either. The latest term I am juggling in regards to my faith I guess would be called an animist. This belief, roughly explained, is that everything has life. Trees, rocks, words, even your thoughts. All of it. I like this explanation, well because I do. Sometimes you don’t choose what you like or believe. But I do believe you can choose how to challenge your beliefs.
Man, it is taking forever for me to get to this quote. The quote is regarding imagination as Harari sees it in our world. Even more so the way we as a species are able to collectively imagine things. For example, democracy. Democracy is not a thing. It is an idea or a way of life that someone thought of and then that train of thought was passed to someone else, and then another person, and then it continued on and on, until we are all standing in line waiting to vote for a someone who we imagine has power to lead our country in a direction we believe is best. Democracy doesn’t actually exist so much as a physical structure. Voting booths have a physical structure. Ballots are physical. The Republican or Democratic parties on the other hand are not physical things, as they are merely ideas that we share as a collective. And these ideas sway us with an amazing amount of power.
So here we go. Harari says, ““How do you cause people to believe in an imagined order such as Christianity, democracy or capitalism? First, you never admit that the order is imagined.” To me this quote holds an immense amount of power, especially when it comes to unlocking the imagined bindings that we ourselves as people have put into place. Yes there is a lot of energy here as Christianity is mentioned and some may take offense to that. Keep in mind that he capitalized the word so be happy with what you get. The truth is though, that regardless of a Jewish man being nailed to a cross, claiming to die for all of our sins, the ideas of what that has evolved into today, both good and bad has come from someone's imagination. There are 37 million churches in the United States today, and each one will do their version of Jesus a bit differently from the next. So, today when I posted this I got a message from someone that hadn’t connected with me in a while. They thought the quote was asinine and that it was proof that I needed to expand who I talk to to challenge my own beliefs. They told me my view was too narrow though I also use my imagination too much. It was confusing. This was all before they even asked me what I thought about the quote or asking any questions at all. They already had a picture painted, one that they could clearly see in their own imagination. And to be 100% fair, that is what I imagined when reading their initial response. Regardless, I exited that conversation and relationship because I don’t want to give my time and space to people who seem already set in their opinion, all while showing a lack of curiosity towards different beliefs and the people who hold them.
I encourage you to follow the rabbit hole of your beliefs and your imagination. I also encourage you to press up against the walls of those beliefs and actively try to punch holes in them. I say this because 10000 years ago, your beliefs today would get you a sideways glance at minimum, at maximum much worse. 10000 years from now, who knows what the common beliefs will be? Allow yourself to expand as the Universe is and pick and choose who you give your space to. I suggest you pick and choose those who are curious and willing to look at any subject with a hammer and crowbar, because the imagination like anything else in our physical existence is not permanent and is not intended to be. Spend some time in the unknown with cracks in your beliefs and enjoy the fact that you do not know the answers to everything.