A room can get quite messy sometimes. Clothing on the bed or on the chair, books on the desk, papers, notebooks and many other things. Yet, we “generally” know where things are when it comes to our own mess. We know it because we know the cause. We know how things came to be order the way they are.
The world is a messy place, but only because we do not understand it fully. We cannot grasp it in its entirety. We only see a tiny part of the world and we do not see the chain of causality.
The world has its own logic and order and we may never be able to understand it completely. Yet, we can still create a bit of order in our understanding of the world. We have to if we want to keep thriving in it. To make sense of the mess, we need filters, that’s why we need to educate ourselves about the world. We need to get a firm grasp on what knowledge is available to us. We have no excuse when things go wrong and they could have been avoided if we had paid attention and used the knowledge we knew to be available. But education is not enough.
“The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool” – Richard Feynman
We also need self-awareness, to spot moments when we are the cause of confusion, when we are making things messier. Part of self-awareness is found in careful analysis of a situation. Taking a dispassionate look at events and fact to tease out the truth, through logic. It is not easy but we must try.
The other part is about integrating foreign ideas. Discussing with people who hold views contrary to our own, so that we can gain a greater understanding of a situation. It is hard because we usually don’t believe that our ideological opponents have anything useful to say. We still have to try to engage in difficult conversations. Conversations that makes us furious.
Because I grew up in a specific faith, I am very suspicious of religious ideologies. However I have my own ideologies. My blind folds having to do with individualism and freedom. I tend to ignore traditions and rituals but I have come to the realisation that even people who would appear backward to me may have some valid point that I wouldn’t have considered without actually listening to them carefully. Even in the midst of claims I judge to be racist, discriminatory and fanatical, there are still pieces of truth that can illuminate my way through the world. Finding out what is true can be painful but it is worth it.