Human Operating System (expounding on June 14 post)

10 Jul

Most of us rely upon a collective perception to get along in life. It is a template of preconceived ideas, beliefs, responses and viewpoints that our society has agreed upon through which we view the world. It is useful because it eliminates the need to “think” through each of life’s situations and tells us what to do based upon what the “average” or typical citizen would do. This keeps our responses uniform and helps us to remain a cohesive group. This saves time and energy and helps us feel united but it also hems one into a collection of beliefs and automatic responses developed by not only other people but the average of a group.

Just one of the difficulties with this is that conventions become outdated. Witness the “generation gap” of the nineteen sixties and seventies. Adults in their forties and fifties simply didn’t understand the thinking of the youth and vice versa.

The other risk of adopting a rigid, automatic operating system of united beliefs and reactions is that it may be based upon inferior reasoning done by previous persons who happened to be respected in their time. (Think about a society which evolved over time basing their system upon the belief that a supernatural entity ran things behind the scenes – because they had no other explanation.)

There are certainly other problems with making life decisions based upon a herd mentality. If everyone did this we would not advance. The “crowd” is the entity which tells us that everything worthwhile is already known. We are fortunate that a minority of the population, people like Dr. Einstein, Copernicus, Lincoln and others did not follow convention or collective wisdom.

Can we believe for a moment that collective perception is not a powerful determinant of behavior? It is difficult for us to believe today that less than two hundred years ago a near majority of Americans thought it OK to enslave other people. Not only that but that so many Americans were willing to fight a war to protect their right to do so.

It would be wise for each individual to occasionally become conscious of this hidden collective lens of perception through which one sees the world and adjust it accordingly to his or her understanding of current knowledge.

Just a few hundred years ago our ancestors thought that sickness was caused by unseen evil spirits. They were partially right of course. The cause of sicknesses were invisible but they were not spirits, evil or otherwise. Think about how far we have come because a few of us refused to follow convention.

It is not a good idea to assign meaning just because it makes us feel more comfortable and helps an occurrence fit within our collective belief system. It is better to have a free, open mind and constantly seek understanding through logic rather than to assign meaning where there is none. If we presently do not have an answer it is better to just acknowledge that.

Occasionally we must open our minds and suspend our collective perception of reality if we wish to personally evolve and add to society’s body of knowledge.

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