The Devil’s Advice: It’s all about you

group of men forming a libe

Taking time from loging stories in what has become my journal is weird, but it’s necessary. I wanted to take time today to remind you that everything that happens in the world affects you. Remember, as you read this, that it’s all about you, all the good and the bad. All the choices you make based on your beliefs lead to other choices and affect those of others, in turn.

In a sense, this also comes from an experience with the demons I trust to lead me in the right direction. This piece comes from a long conversation that reminded me of something I’ve said before. It all leads back to the ideas of misinformation and how it affects happiness negatively.

The Devil's advice: It's all about you

The IDea

The problem isn’t that people believe weird things about reality, I’m sure I do to a large extent, the problem is that they believe those things only to belong to specific groups; That separation and that divisive attitude lead to tribalism and group think. Predictably, these attitudes degenerate into hateful behaviour.

Lost in that Us vs Them mentality people forget the most important factor affecting social progress: the value of the individual.

Certain religious groups claim that killing innocents goes against God’s will, only to wish death upon all those who don’t accept their prophet’s interpretation of God. Others tout the love and compassion of their saviour only to condemn – to eternal hell and suffering – those who do not embrace that saviour. Still, others profess [universal] responsibility for all sentient beings, but tell women they have to be reborn as men before being liberated. What should give us all pause is that some will see no problem with the belief-systems they appreciate and dismiss the others in this paragraph as nonsensical… let that thought sit in your head for just a while.

A special mention to my science friends who refuse to see that it’s not that some people lack intelligence, they lack the resources to understand science properly – they lack the resources and reasons to WANT to understand science. I feel you, I was one of you, and I judged people unfairly from my very limited vantage point.

You can see the same approach to (and in) politics, where a group insists on suspension of judgement only when their side is affected negatively by the events being judged. People shaming others for complying with social norms, and vice versa, without understanding their individual motives for complying are, unfortunately, engaging in a different kind of bigotry.

You see, it’s about the affiliation to a group; it’s about membership to a collective identity that requires you to follow very specific rules; rules that serve only to benefit the idea of the group.

Here is my judgement of your ideas whilst understanding that desperate need to belong to something greater. That’s right, I like to judge ideas and behaviour, not people, least especially people I don’t know. Moreover, I want to understand the reasons for those ideas I want to judge.

If your perceived value of another is predicated on your beliefs, and you are willing to accept that those who don’t follow your path deserve to suffer, you have a lot of growing to do.

If you think you hold moral superiority over others because of your beliefs, religious or political, or that your doctrines give you authority over others, you have a lot of learning to do.

It's about you.

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The Reason It’s about you

The reasons you believe in what you do are circumstantial.

I’ll say this again: judgement and criticism are valuable tools in the incitement of progress when applied correctly. WHEN APPLIED CORRECTLY. The other problem is that a lot of the criticisms you pass are based on personal truths and ignorance of the other’s circumstances and the vast reality surrounding their experience.

Yes, I say YOU deliberately because it is YOU, the person reading this, who matters to this world, it is YOU who can make the difference between a world that can overcome the challenges inherent in its complexity and one where we all suffer the terrible consequences of bad ideas.

YOU make the choice.

— The Devil Unbound

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