Standing for Something

What, if anything, do you stand for?

This is a question that points, it points at how we try to live our lives and maybe what we consider important. We might stand for a cause, we might stand for a religion or we might stand for freedoms. It is likely that many have not considered what it is they stand for and if they have, it probably stops at something relatively tangible. The related question, “what do I stand against?” is perhaps easier. We might be against climate change or the badger cull, we might be against sexual exploitation. Nearly all of these stands are held within the context of the common dream. They may tinker with some element of that dream, but by and large, life is eked within that wider context. There are many in my former profession who seek a wider participation in science, to bring it to the wider masses. But science is not a panacea, whilst it can bring engagement and employment, it per se, does not bring happiness and peace. Lurking aback can be found, in many cases, ambition. For some science is by way of a Sheldonian religion. And whilst it may point at material truths there are many others which it, because of methodology, cannot approach. There are things into which it does not delve.

If you do make a stand it can reduce your options in the context of the common dream, but it can also open up whole new worlds.

To whom do you hand over your mind?

This might seem a strange question but that is what we do, we hand over our minds to a whole bunch of people, their ideas and their ways. In our desire to belong, we hand over our mind almost without questioning if it is a good thing or not. We are very heavily influenced by others and there is a welcome mat outside the door of our minds, we let things in without asking them to wipe.

“I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.”

― Mahatma Gandhi

The key to the door is called fear of missing out and it is by way of a near universal key. It works on many mind-doors. That fear of no longer belonging or being Kool and the Gang weakens our discernment and lowers our standards. In time provided “they” say it is OK, pretty much anything goes. Like sheep we follow the latest trends and gimmicks. If you look at the world today our moral climate isn’t so good, and the exemplars held up are not glowing examples of the best that humanity can offer. There is a lot of corruption and some very shallow stuff out there. Ah but if you don’t follow the trends you will be left out, way-sided. Everybody else is doing it, is a very shabby excuse akin to “I was only following orders”.

I want people to think for themselves and to cultivate some wisdom. This sounds benign but the implications, if you think about it, are wide ranging. Many imagine that they do indeed think for themselves but that is done under the weight of extensive social conditioning and in the context of the common dream. Until such time as you have unpicked that social conditioning you will have no concept of how very debilitating that conditioning is. That fear of missing out and of exclusion is strong, very strong. If you like experiments, the next time you are faced with the fear of missing out on some thing or other. Miss out. In all likelihood the galaxy will still be there the following day, the universe will not undergo the “big crunch” because you missed out. I know, it is very hard to believe.

Unless we stand for something we can be led in to anything.

If you have no values, nor core principles, then all you have left is convenience and expediency. Now if that is a considered choice then that is “better” than if it is a mere default. Without some moral, some ethos to live by, life has less meaning. I am not advocating evangelism of any kind. I am suggesting discernment, a quality that needs honed.

I have renounced a large part of what society offers. In this respect I am missing out. I am missing out on money, kudos, the chance to piss about with expensive lasers and optics, the competitive highly politicized ambition ridden world. I am missing out on stress, on game-playing and on some vague sense of social cohesion and belonging. It was a choice I made and to an extent one that was made for me. Unless I am mistaken the sun has just risen, the cows in the field are eating grass, the entire universe hasn’t imploded.

Having cued this up:

What, if anything, do you stand for?

To whom, to what, do you hand over your mind?

To what extent does the fear of missing out rule your life?