Taking off from this question, life’s primary activity is participation in reality.
This would mean for ourselves and what is happening around us.
What is really going on? If we knew, many decisions would be different because we increasingly filter out reality from our mindset, in a similar way that people in love only see things “through rose-colored glasses.” That isn’t reality; it’s a filter they have placed on everything they’re viewing.
Each of us possesses a mental filter. This becomes evident when you interview witnesses at an accident or other occurrence—everyone reports something different. It is because of these filters.
How Do Filters Originate?
Filters develop from the ways in which we were treated as children. Based on our treatment as a child, we treat ourselves as adults. That treatment results in filtering out many factors of existence.
There is a way to socially bypass these filters. Austrian economist Friedrich Hayek said, “The only possibility of transcending the capacity of individual minds is to rely on those superior self-organized forces which create spontaneous order.”
The Progress Not Made
Given our advances as humanity, the obstacle of filters should have been long ago overcome. Over the last few hundred years, we have seen tremendous progress in society, especially in technology and ways of accomplishing daily life. Beyond simply washing machines, mobile phones and the internet, we’ve gone to the moon and are on our way to Mars. At the same time, have we learned to handle ourselves better? Not really. We have more chaos in society and an increase in mental illness.
We have made tremendous progress in many ways. The exception, though, is the mind and the human being. Even with all the advances in medicine and neuroscience, there has been no broad impact as far as I can see.
Removing Ourselves From Reality
Why do we find ourselves increasingly backing away from our own reality? It is because we have become self-centered and ignorant. A major reason for this is that, over hundreds and thousands of years, people have lost sight of the fact that not everything ends in our momentary lives. We lost sight of this and replaced it with the view that everything is only in the “here and now.” Since we only focus on the present, we have become so self-centered, willfully ignorant, and self-absorbed that we have forgotten to think about others.
It is an illusion that ours is a progressing world. Sure, we have some progress, but we have yet to progress as the human race. We must be very critical of ourselves.
The “Hard Drive” of the Human Mind
The truly unsolved problem, in my view, is that of the human “computer”—the human mind. The mind could be likened to a hard disk in a computer.
In previous articles of this series, we have addressed the fact of negative feelings. People believe that a feeling comes first, and then comes thinking. It is the reverse—thinking is first, and then comes the feeling. A person thinks they are unworthy and, therefore, feels unworthy.
In traveling through life, all the information collected on your hard disk, your mind, that affects your existence, is edited by your “computer.” This is why a mindset is so difficult to change—it’s on the hard disk. It would be a wonderful thing, for some, if one has had a hard life full of bad experiences, that their hard disk could be erased and replaced with a new one that is totally clean. Unfortunately, the mind is interconnected with life and so cannot be “erased.” It is influenced by all of life’s interactions—upbringing, siblings, parents, school, grandparents, and everyone that surrounds one. Today, it is theorized that the first few years of a person’s life result in how they think throughout the rest of their life.
Reality Results From Experience
Detachment, in my opinion, is one of society’s core problems. Because so many people are detached as adults because of their lives and upbringing, it becomes very complicated for them to show compassion, affection, or positive feelings toward another. Because of their experiences, they don’t want to remember and so detach themselves. A person may be able to show some degree of empathy, but a deeper form is compassion. Compassion is one step further, a real connection much more significant than empathy. One can empathize with someone who has experienced something terrible, but feel no real connection to it. Compassion, though, allows you to truly feel what happens to others.
Experience consists of life’s every moment added to the last, summated by the “computer,” the mind. In the end, a person’s reality is their accumulated experience.
It’s true that as I grew up I may have had little to no responsibility for events. But once I have grown up, I have the responsibility to rethink my hard disk, thinking, and mindset. Why am I acting the way I do? Why do I feel I always have to be the best, always have to win, always be right? Or that I must always be perfect?
There are others who always beg for help, for assistance with their problems. Yet others experience something beautiful in life and immediately repress it, thinking they are not allowed to be happy. Why is that?
An automatic behavior pattern can evolve from experience. It can run like a computer program, resulting in behavior opposite to how you would actually like to behave. It has been programmed in the past.
You can only change this program if you somehow become aware of it. As long as you are not changing it, the program will remain part of your thinking.
What Lies Underneath a Pattern?
An example of such behavior is the experienced feeling some have had that they must achieve perfection. The motivation for that feeling, though, is that underneath, they feel that they are unworthy. This motivates them to always try and be perfect. Such a mindset can only be changed if the person can reflect on why this behavior occurs.
We have not, however, learned to engage in reflection. We see behavior daily in the news—“I punch you, you punch me, I punch you back harder.” As the human race, we have not learned to survive, be better, or learn. The knowledge we have inherited results in humankind becoming perhaps stupider than before, in my opinion.
An egocentric worldview is very prevalent. People want to have everything in this life—more vacations, more of everything, instant gratification without doing anything for it. It is ruining our lives. We must stop behaving this way. If we don’t do it ourselves, we will be stopped. It isn’t a pattern that endlessly goes upward. What goes up must come down. And when it comes down, it will not be easy. It will not be fun.
Because we are customerCustomerCustomer is an individual or an organization that purchases a product or signs up for a service offered by a business.-centric, I believe sales has tremendous responsibility. If a salesperson has no empathy, lacks altruism, and is cold, people will turn away from them and never give them a recommendation.
When an altruistic approach is taken, the person taking it may find that the person they help may one day help them back.
How One Becomes Human
Different approaches are taken by humans. That’s what makes us humans.
Even while we have empathy, we seem to have lost compassion. It would be good for us to gain compassion once again.
The recent COVID pandemic has also affected behavior. In the beginning, people enjoyed that everything was slowing down. But then we realized it was unsustainable in the longer term.
We now find people stepping on others, violating boundaries, and in some form living out their nightmares. People will only be successful if they once again become real humans.
What does becoming human actually entail? A real human grows holistically—in body, mind and spirit. Too many feel that these are separate–for example, what is done with the body doesn’t influence the spirit. Today, we know that everything is interconnected.
It is more crucial today to become human, as we become engaged in the battle of human versus machine. This is especially true with the advent of AI. We are fighting against the machine, and the machine has no empathy. A machine is only calculating basic information.
To become truly intelligent and survive as a race, we must, as humans, get to the core. The core of humans is taking care of each other. When a baby is born, it isn’t like the young of some animals born in the wild who can almost immediately stand and walk. A human baby is totally lost if it doesn’t have love and care for the first few years of its life. That is why, in my opinion, Jesus told us that we must become “like the little child.”
The mindset we need to embrace is this one, and the direction we should take.