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People's beliefs are always true because they are personal decisions. However, the premises upon which those ideologies are built upon may be true or false and herein lies the problem. As human beings we are marked by evolution. Our bodies and our very brains (and therefore minds) are improvements over older, most basic such organs. Although this is good, it also means that we carry within us the baggage of millennia of trials and errors. We carry within us the most primitive needs that human beings had, and we are still influenced and sometimes even controlled by them.

Being a primitive human must have been a terrifying experience. Just imagine, nothing was known and everything was dangerous. Instinctively we were at war with nature for our own survival all the time. We were totally unable to control any aspect of our lives. We were totally exposed to all the random actions that nature unleashes on any biological being…with one exception: we knew, we were aware.

The human struggle from the beginning of time since we became aware can be summarized with one word: control. We struggle to control our environment because it was literally a matter of life and death. Ours.

As primitives we used our instincts to survive, but as self–aware biological entities, we understood. It was this understanding that lead us to make efforts to control our environment because this control gave us certainty. This certainty was the only element we had in order to fight the randomness of nature and the less randomness we had the better our chances of survival and spreading our genes throughout the human populations.

As biological entities and as a matter of evolutionary survival mechanisms, we crave control. However, at its most basic, control is rooted in certainty. The meaning of controlling something is to know for sure (i.e. with certainty) that we can do something. As such, at its most basic, we crave certainty. It is a biological impulse. It is a biological necessity. We are so hardwired.

And herein lies the trap.

Ideologies provide certainties. They are seductive because they provide us not only with the means to satisfy our goals (whether political, economic or biological) but they do so with certainty. Once we cross this threshold, a return to our previous thinking is unlikely and exercising skepticism almost impossible.

Consider this. Our brains are pattern recognition machines. We have evolved in this manner because it was the expedient way to survive. For example, consider this brain process

– Something moved in the forest

– This "something" is big

– This "something" moves fast

– It "looks like" a hungry tiger

– Conclusion? RUN!

Our brains are constantly processing data and trying to find a pattern that matches this data. Once we have made the decision, once we have accepted a belief in a given ideology, our brain will try very hard indeed to fit all our knowledge to this ideology. We will see the world throughout a different set of eyes. Our brain will do this automatically without we even noticing. It will fit all the jigsaw pieces of reality into our little ideological model. We become trapped by default, this is, without ever having to do anything else.

This is the ultimate danger. Once we accept an ideology, their premises cease to be challenged and analyzed under a skeptical light. We become fanatics, whether we like it (or want it) or not. Our brain has evolved in this manner and we react. This much is inevitable.

It is for this precise reason, to prevent being trapped in an ideology which may be based on erroneous premises, that we urge you to challenge everything you see and everything you are told. Above all, everything that what we are showing you in our little corner of the Internet.

We are not perfect. We can be mistaken and as a matter of fact, we are. We are giving you a model and as any other model of reality, it will be proven flawed over time. What we are saying is believe, if this is your choice, but stay in guard. Be skeptical. Look for flaws and when you find them, move on and build a better model. It is the only way.

We loath to provide advice, this is not our job. But on rare occasions we will do so. This is one of those occasions. Ideologies are seductive because our brains are hardwired to like and seek certainties. What we suggesting and asking you to do is to dismiss millennia of evolution and go against everything that in the past ensured your survival. We have evolved but our brain has not. We must left our baggage behind.

We must learn to challenge notions. We must learn to listen skeptically. We must educate and train ourselves to perpetually seek flaws in the ideas that are presented to us.

This is neither easy nor painless. Certainty produces pleasure; morphine–like substances (endorphins) are released into our brain and it makes us feel good and at ease. It is a biochemical response. A reward we evolved to ensure we seek certainty and therefore improve our chances of survival.

Skepticism produces pain. We need to win over our endorphin addiction and push through it. We need to spend time and effort while we could be having fun. We need to think of horrible possibilities while we would much rather enjoy nice thoughts. But we must.

Being seduced by an ideology is a sure way to oblivion. A model of reality is not reality and eventually, over time, its deficiencies inevitably appear. However, by then, it is too late. The damage was already done.

Think! Question! Ask!

These are our only weapons but we can only wield them through discipline and discipline is though. The art of skepticism has been lost and we need to bring it back.

If we are to survive as a human species, we will have to discipline ourselves. We will have to never let down our guard. We will always have to be asking the single most important question: but why?

We are only humans and as such we may fall for ideologies, this is inevitable. However, as humans, it is our choice to select the best ones and modify or replace them as necessary. This is our job. This is your choice. Love with eyes wide open, or not. The future is waiting.

 

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