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Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Trust Nothing and No One

I don’t mean you literally shouldn’t trust anyone, ever. What I mean by the above statement is that because we all have different perspectives on things, it is often difficult to know who to listen to.

When I was little, I would ask one of my parents about something and then ask the other parent about the same thing. I would feel really confused because they would both give me conflicting information, making me not know who was ‘right.’ Children often put their parents on a pedestal and assume they know ‘everything’.

It’s pretty much continued like that with the entire world. I am of the existential nihilist belief in that there are no absolute truths. How do we know we’re not all brains in a jar? Or being controlled by giant computers and machines like in The Matrix? How do we know that our world isn’t just a car battery powering some other person’s car or powering another planet? (Rick and Morty reference). How do we know that we’re not all part of someone’s giant video game or board game? (The answer: don’t think about it.)

The thing with humans is that we each have our own beliefs about the world and how things are. A counsellor I had once said it's like we have our own space helmets on, and when we take our helmets off we realise everyone is wearing a space helmet in their own point of view. A guy I know has semi-jokingly referred to my blog as a ‘Nazi’ blog and stated that all my views on feminism are ‘wrong’ and that I’ve been watching too many ‘chauvinistic atheist youtubers.’ This same guy knows I’m in AA and is one of those people that says it doesn’t work and that rehab is a waste of time.

It’s pretty amusing really. Sometimes on my posts people comment things I don’t agree with, either on my actual blog or on Facebook or Google Plus. It’s interesting to see everyone’s conflicting views, with me and then with each other. We tend to believe that what we think is right, myself included. Growing up my closest cousin often said when she was annoyed at me ‘for gods’ sake Zarina, you always think you’re right!’ But what I’ve come to notice is that we all think we’re right because – why wouldn’t we? We all think that what we think we know is right, rather than realising that we ‘know’ a lot little than we think we know. Thoughtfully.

Take an atheist and a theist. An atheist (like myself) believes that there is no God due to a lack of evidence, moral necessity, and logic. A theist believes that there is a God due to what they’ve been brought up to believe, and due to what they think and feel. I used to believe in a God growing up so I know the mindset – you just ‘know’ God is looking out for you and you can just ‘feel’ it. To an atheist this sounds crazy, but to a theist it’s totally legitimate. The more ‘correct’ way to think would be to be agnostic (and I do consider myself an agnostic atheist) and lean towards either one or the other side. Truth is, we don’t know, and we probably never will know.

This is why I think (therefore I am) that facts are all but subjective. Sure, it’s a fact that I am writing this on a laptop, but the only reason I am aware of this laptop is due to sensory perception. If I was blind I wouldn’t be able to see the words; if I were deaf I wouldn’t hear my hands pitter-pattering across the soft keys. If I were mute I wouldn’t able to speak what I think out loud.

The only things I am aware of for certain are my breathing, my desire to eat, sleep and fuck; and maybe a few other things like peeing or farting or other physiological functions. My body does millions of things I am unaware of daily. I have become so used to typing on a keyboard over the years that I seldom have to check what letter I’m pressing and just write without thinking.

The trouble with adopting this way of thinking is that you would never be able to function as you would start wondering where or how you were. I think this way of thinking would be more practically applied to cases where it is clear to see something is more opinion-based. I could say to a bunch of people that I don’t think Trump is that awful and be ostracised for it (have done); I could also say to a bunch of people that I don’t care much about him and have them rave on about how he’s awesome. I suppose beyond being aware of our bodily functions and sensory perception, it is unclear to know what is true and what is false.

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