2019, Jan 07    

I have an unproven theory. In this day and age, by the time a teenager steps into adulthood, she already has read/heard enough moral lessons and reasonings needed for leading an ethical and purposeful life.

Meaning, by 18 years of age, she already should know the most universal and timeless mantras (such as you should not lie, you better be honest and work hard in your life) which are “such obvious” lessons in human life that almost all average human beings ignore them completely!

For the rest of her life, she will read numerous motivational, inspirational, rational, and philosophical materials that practically repeat those same dogmas but with elaborate examples, logic in various forms. And because those same teachings (do not lie, be honest, take care of your health, etc) come dressed under New York Times bestselling titles, she will think that’s the silver bullet she has been looking for! But dear, you already learned the same lessons from your junior high school teacher but in a junior school level standard. However, it’s okay, maybe you were not an attentive student back then. But the problem is, even now, after discovering your newfound meaning of life (from an award winning book, or maybe from a trending Facebook post), there is a very high chance that you are not going to change yourself at all! And that’s not entirely your fault.

Words, writings are powerful tools, but more often than not, these tools alone are not powerful enough to change human’s perception or belief. There is no shortage of books that tell us what is right and what is wrong. Someone can read a hundred books and watch hours of TED talks on the importance of physical exercise (while sitting on the couch) but never take any serious attempts to make exercise a regular part of his/her life. But the day that person knows he has a severe disease and regular exercise can increase the possibility of extending his lifespan, he will not need any book or TED talk to get the motivation for doing exercise. Or it might be a trivial thing, like one day his two year old boy says, dad, why are you so lazy and don’t do any exercise at all? And from that day, that dad will become an exercising fanatic upon receiving a punch on his ego from parenthood! Or maybe he will just ignore his two year old without giving the slightest touch of thought. No one knows.

My point is, humans are a complicated system and in most instances, we have no idea what triggers what in our psyche. For us, it is very common to say, this guy is a genius. But in ancient Greece or Rome, the people would say, this guy HAS genius! The difference between IS and HAS is paramount here. Back then, people used to believe that creativity was a divine spirit that only comes to some selective human beings for unknowable reasons. The ‘HAS’ here means the ‘genius’ was given to them from a divine source which made the genius people humble. But now we think we BECOME genius by our hard work and intellect only. ‘You can become anything if you simply want it hard enough’ is the teaching of this era. Socrates, famously, believed that he had a demon who spoke wisdom to him from afar.

Here, I am not saying Socrates was right. But I would give him credit for not taking all the credit for whatever wise things he said. Sometimes we do not even know why we believe in certain things, or why we stop believing in certain things. Some exceptions aside, usually any drastic transformation in our belief or thought system is the end result of a long chain of unnoticed trivial events.

So, don’t expect that your perfect, logical Facebook or Medium post or Tweet will change people’s mind. However, there is always a statistically slim chance that for someone, your Facebook post would be the last link of a long chain of his long quest. Maybe someone is on the verge of changing his mind on a particular topic. In his unconscious mind, there is already a long chain of events in support of a particular decision. And then, as soon as he sees your post he decides “that’s it!”. The reasoning in your Facebook post is NOT the reason he changes his mind. Rather, it could be the last dot of the last chapter of a book. The dot does not mean anything, rather it’s just a finishing mark.

The likelihood of the above happening is extremely low. In most of the cases, Likes and Shares are the only things your post will ever achieve.

Bottom line? When you make a statement or a thesis, do your best to reason it as perfectly as possible. But don’t expect that your perfect reasoning will change the world or even a single person’s perception just because your argument is flawless. Human mind is mysterious, it’s beyond reasoning, beyond anything.

Image source: https://wronghands1.com/2015/03/27/the-egosystem/

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