Sunday, August 19, 2012


I think, therefore I am.

A wonderful basis for the belief in our own existence. But, what does the great philosopher Descartes follow that up with? A "leap of faith" straight into Judao-Christian belief structures. I, for one, do not believe that we can trust anything that immediately deludes itself into believing that our very existence, and sanity, are due to an omniscient and all-powerful God.

Now. This isn't going to be a rant going into the basics of philosophy or anything of the sort. Instead, I'd like to propose the theory that people can trust in their own existence without the power of God, to an extent.

Follow along with me, if you can. I believe that thinking (therefore existing) is a good basis for our trust in our own existence. I won't dispute this. However, we have to reach a conclusion on the next step before we can move forward. And while Descartes stuck God into the picture as a way of trusting that a "Great Deceiver" is not just playing a trick on us, I believe the leap to an equally illogical character is just as bad for basic trust.

We DO have power. We are not helpless. Or so we think. So, I present this as an alternative. We can assume that our senses tell us what is real. For us. Because if what we perceive matches with what we remember, then how can we detect the falsehood of a varied existence? If we ARE bound in a reality of our own imagining, we have been living there for a long time. It has BECOME our reality, at that point. As such, we can assume (to an extent) that we are real and that what we see, hear, taste, touch, smell, and remember are all real as well. We have no other way of proving or disproving what we have.

So. We take that assumption for granted. It may not be 100% foolproof, but the other choices lead to insanity. And we don't want to be locked up in our own minds, do we? So we move forward.

The world of our memories and our senses lead to many things. We perceive things differently than other humans based on the filters that we have grown to trust. A white couple comes into a crowded restaurant immediately behind a black family with two children. But the white couple gets seated first. Is this racism? Is it because the dining area had a small table in the middle of the floor open up first? Did the white couple have an appointment? Answer this (In your own mind. I can't hear you!), which of these questions makes the most sense to you? Did you leap to a conclusion after reading the description of the event?

These are the filters that we need to be aware of in our lives. They are the power that our minds hold over reality. Each of us, alone, may not be able to move mountains. But if you get enough people behind the idea, that mountain DOES move.

It is up to the individual to look at things that offend them. Or, maybe, that offend others. And to think about WHY these various emotions are occurring. Is it something that you feel is justified? Do you believe that others are looking at you negatively because of how you react to various circumstances? If there is a problem, it may not be with the other people involved. But if it IS, it may not be something that they are consciously doing.

So, how do we change? (Or change others?) This is the most difficult part of accepting that our minds and our perceptions shape reality. We have to take responsibility for the problems that surround us. Not by pointing out the flaws to others. Because that type of action usually causes our "opponents" to shut their minds to us. But instead, we need to talk to them. Calmly. And try to find out if any of that fault lies in our own way of thinking.

Can we change the world? Yes. But only if enough humans (or projections, if Descartes was correct and there IS a Great Deceiver out there!) are willing to take the time to understand WHY something is a problem. And not just the fact that it IS a problem.