Are you an open book without knowing about it?

How underlying thoughts and ideas affect the way you act

A human being is a complex set of thoughts, views, ideas, memories, connections, biases, preferences, knowledge, skills, fears, loves and many other things. Individuals subscribe to some views based on what is currently seen as awesome by the group, apply some behaviors for the same reason and despise others. All of this has to do with choices and circumstances, sometimes even pure chance – but what do we do with all of those underlying views that aren’t OK to say, show and tell?  

If everyone’s a book, how carefully do we choose the words by which it is written? How much of the book would be covered by awesome things, great memories, progress, love, laughs, new friendships and pursuing dreams? And, how many chapters would be written on fear, prejudice, suspicion, disbelief, arrogance, ego and self-deception?

Now, that’s about as close to a verbal bitch-slap as one could get. A lot of thoughts and inner conversations aren’t too positive. Not only that, but they are usually limited within a comfort zone, with sentences and concepts being elaborated only as much as feels comfortable, never to that state of unpleasant, not-knowing-the-answers-phase.

We do like to know all the answers. Human beings really like to think that they know the answers, to the level of truly believing that they don’t even need to reason on certain aspects of themselves. Some things are just there as a given, right?

“Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.” 
― Henry David Thoreau 

Maybe in fairytales, but what happens IRL?

IRL, there are other people around us who reason in a totally different way, whose views are ran through other perspectives and whose biases have formed through other cultural influences, traditions and values.

As we’re being exposed to differing values like never before, our own world views are being challenged. Suddenly, someone has to admit that all of those things who we saw as implicit, maybe isn’t. Whoopsie.

After that happens, the next phase depends on which one out of two choices a person decides to go for. Either to research more about this thing, about what a person really is and isn’t, or to ignore all of that fully and go blindly into a stronger belief in all of the previously mentioned things being true.

As you can see, this is a little, well, painful. Both choices come with benefits, hence people aren’t automatically invited to choose the one over the other.


Inconsistency is an asshole, that’s why nobody likes it

We’re all social animals, that’s a fact. We like to have things in common with the people we are surrounded by, and dislike anything threatening this imaginary security of ours. The problem with being exposed to other influences that aren’t a threat but should be since that’s the way the whole group security story goes, this creates confusion.

Instead of yet again going for understanding, it’s easier to crawl back to imagination and hold on to it as hard as possible.

In interaction, which nobody gets away from, this imagination shines through. We tend to give away hints about how we really feel, without admitting it to ourselves but fully visible to everyone else. In a desperate search to unify something, people instead alienate themselves.


You’re one person, that’s what’s up

If you’re an open book, like most of us are, then how about reading it yourself? How fun is it that everyone around you has understood things about you which you yourself haven’t, simply because you chose to close your eyes about it?

Open them and then go figure yourself out. If you don’t share someone’s values, or if that person doesn’t share yours, is it such a big deal? Should we all pretend that we do, or should we go on and start a conversation about it?

The current fear of having an opinion, and even worse – to hold a conversation about it, is not great for anyone. What it leads to is suppressing fear, anger, and it breeds misunderstandings and prejudice.

Do we really need more of that crap on this planet?

No, no we don’t.

Simply admitting that cultures are different and therefore, by nature of the concept culture, some values will be different as well, is a great start. Followed by asking questions both to the holder of that other culture, but also to yourself – what’s your real opinion on that culture (or value) and why do you hold this view?

“Your beliefs become your thoughts, 
Your thoughts become your words, 
Your words become your actions, 
Your actions become your habits, 
Your habits become your values, 
Your values become your destiny.” 
― Mahatma Gandhi

Are you afraid of particular cultural trends, traditional values and the influence those might have on yours? Do you believe that there’s a hierarchy among cultures, and if so, why the F would you think that? Is it so, that many of these questions are irrelevant, because what you’d really like to know is if this influence will have a negative impact on your views and ideas?

If that’s the case, then the story gets even better. Do you really believe in the values to which you subscribed, if the fear of being influenced by others is so ridiculously huge? Could that inconsistency thing be haunting you a bit again, hm?


Be an open book, but read it yourself too

Self-investigating is tough shit, but you should still do it – it’s worth it

Thoughts and reactions shape each other, both by external and internal influence. Both can be reasonable and make sense, but they can also be pretty fucked up, irrational, a state of commonly accepted psychosis to put it nicely.

The most important thing is to start with yourself, choosing the right way for you to evolve and feel great – which isn’t necessarily the easy way. But it’s worth it.

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