If this article is too long for you to read, the summary is this: You can learn and discover much more with the attitude “I don’t know much yet” than with the attitude “I know it all”.
Create an answer and the mind closes. Stay in the question, and the mind opens. Pat-answers and quick-conclusions may give you some relief, but they rarely give you truth. Addiction to the “relief of having the answer” is what keeps people stupid.
To lose weight, I recommended one student to start eating a certain food. To lose weight, I recommended to another student to stop eating that same food.
The above is true.
If you think that’s a contradiction, you are generalizing. The opposite of generalizing is viewing individual cases. Generalizing is good for making something easier to digest, but if a topic is important to you, stop generalizing and start examining in more detail.
“UFOs are Aliens” a guy told me, as if he was way ahead of the herd. Oh yeah? Says who? Why have a final answer before more is known? His assertion that “UFOs are Aliens” narrows perception down to one possible outcome, blinding the believer to any other possibility. I responded: “I don’t know. I doubt it“. He said: “Wow…you surprise me, Fred. I didn’t think you’re that narrow minded! So many stars and galaxies out there and you think we’re the only ones in the whole wide Universe?”
But I never said that I don’t believe aliens exist. I said I’m not sure UFOs are piloted by aliens. I’m certain aliens exist. But what if there are UFOs are actually military aircraft? Or inter-dimensional Beings? Or what if they are hologram projections? Or what if they are piloted by Crypto-terrestrials, that is, a species we share the world with, but just don’t know yet? Or what if it’s something else entirely that we do not yet understand? The possibilities are many. Saying “it’s aliens” discounts all of that and closes the doors of perception. End of story, end of inquiry. And the beginning of ignorance. And yet, this guy believed he was way ahead of the crowd. And I’ve seen a lot of people like that on many topics. There are none more ignorant than those who think they are awesomely enlightened.
A student once told me this:
“The day I decided to be an atheist my whole life changed. I felt liberated. What a relief that was. My whole outlook softened and for the first time I could see things without all these ridiculous rules, fears and silly rituals. This threat of permanent punishment in Hell is what had made me emotionally sick. Now I am well. Religion makes people sick!”
Another student told me this:
“The moment I gave my life to God, a miraculous transformation happened. Life began to make sense and Gods guidance made everything easier. I realized my own will is insufficient. I have burdened myself my whole life with it. Having given it to God, everything is now working well. My health has improved. My finances have improved. I have left behind the dead world of atheism and submitted to the living God. Atheists are like retards.”
Both messages (which I have shortened for this article) are rife with false conclusions and generalizations. A person in need of relief, is rarely open minded. Pain is the reason for closing ones mind. As I later found out, the newly minted atheist was omitting that he grew up in a violent household. If he didn’t go to Church, his Dad would beat him with a belt. The beatings left marks on his body and scars on his soul. Is it any surprise he’d feel liberated after renouncing his fathers “Religion”? Looking more closely, what appeared to be a genuine report on personal transformation became nothing more than a straw man argument.
The report from the guy who found God is wonderful, until he says “Atheists are retards”, a generalization that devalues everything said before it. This is common if one holds a weak position. Then opposing positions are devalued. If this persons faith were genuine, there would be no need to put down others.
One student told me (shortened):
“Learning about reality creation and the law of attraction changed my life. I realized I am responsible for my reality and I can use my will and imagination, to change it. That really makes all the difference. I’m now more confident, more optimistic and my growth has greatly accelerated”.
Another told me (shortened):
“My transformation came to me when I let go of all of this need for success and goals and let myself to just be, abiding in the moment, accepting things as they are. This whole self-improvement hype is what really made me sick. Now I am well”.
Both of these positions are really just thoughts rather than absolutes. There is no need to come to a final conclusion on how to live or what life is about. People who rarely stay in the question are mentally lazy and perhaps even afraid of uncertainty.
One told me:
My life really took off after I got divorced. I didn’t realize how much I was limiting myself. This whole marriage thing is really a scam. Who says we are forced to be with just one person our entire life? Since my divorce I am more successful in my Business. I’ve been able to triple my income. I feel more happy.
Another told me:
After I married, everything changed to the better. Nothing is better than a sense of belonging, loyalty and love. My income has tripled. Marriage is good and every human being should be married.
False-assignment-of-cause, false generalizations and false conclusions are quite common and a cause of all sort of misunderstanding.
“The whole marriage thing is really a scam”. Just because something didn’t work out for one person, does not mean that it’s generally bad. The same applies to the statement “Every human being should be married”. Should “every” human being be married, regardless of whether it’s the right match? Doubtful. That’s one of those beliefs that put people under pressure to marry prematurely. False generalization is one of the main roots of conflict: A person has an experience. Then he assumes that others should or should not have the same experience. So he tries to get others to believe. But your personal experiences do not apply to all other people. 5-year-old children that think that their own experiences apply to the whole world. People who don’t grow out of this childish mindset, become politicians. But whether marriage or staying single or going for a relationship without marriage is “good” or “bad” depends upon many factors: Whether you are ready for marriage, your choice of partner and whether you can stay true to yourself (among many other things).
I am not saying that “both sides are right”. That’s also lazy thinking and ignores what is right in a particular context. I am saying that what’s good for the dog needn’t be good for the cat. Let’s take diets for example: Maybe different body and blood types require different diets. Maybe body-builders require a different diet than librarians. Maybe nothing is wrong with many of the foods we demonize, but the method of processing is wrong. These generalizations, which “popular knowledge” is so full of, suppress inquiry and discernment. Truth is more personal than we care to admit. And if you listened too much to others, you couldn’t discover core truths about yourself.
The so-called “deep personal transformations” we just read about, often comes from change itself. I know a person who is meditating every day for an hour. She started a few months ago. Before that, she had never meditated. It has changed her life. She feels at peace. Her anger issues have disappeared. But I also know someone who quit meditating a few years ago. Since then, he has become madly successful in his Business. Before that he was always struggling. Stopping to meditate, changed his life. The “deep personal transformation” does not always come from the thing itself but from changing a habit. Even the most positive thing can become a stuck-ness. Let go, and the miraculous can happen.
I have gotten to know a fair amount of “open minded” people who have no idea how narrow minded they are. That’s because those who deem themselves open minded, quit questioning things. They think they no longer need to, because they are so open minded. The liberation of today is the stuckness of tomorrow. The Universe keeps expanding and you too are meant to keep growing, expanding, evolving, learning. Humans are not meant to do the same activity, over and over, even if it’s a good activity. Don’t get stuck on one vocation for more than 10 years, you are so much more.
That doesn’t mean you should discard everything old. It’s like moving to a new house. You take the best stuff with you, but discard the junk you don’t need. This applies to beliefs and emotions too. Take the beliefs that worked with you and discard the rest.
The hidden factor underlying personal transformation is:
level of consciousness and energy
Through a change in attitude, a person is progressing from one level of the scale to the next and experiences that as a “deep personal transformation”. The external change is more of an anchor or excuse to go up to the next level within.
A Belief is like a car. It gets you from A to B. To expect me to have exactly the same belief for every person, in every situation, is madness. “But Fred! How can you recommend X to this Person and Y to the other!” Well, maybe because these are two different people with very different backgrounds, genes, situations, mental constructs that require entirely different approaches? That is not to say that there are no universal standards. There are many things that apply to anyone and many things that apply only to the individual.
People who become fanatics that advocate for some partial-truth, do so because they were in pain and looking for a solution. Fanatics generalize: They found a solution that worked that one time, at that one place and then think it is a solution to everything. But just because crying in front of your mom worked well, doesn’t mean it will work well in front of the Boss. In the fanatic you will find that a partial solution was found, but the pain is not entirely gone. So that we get more of what gave us partial relief, we focus so strongly that we become fanatic. A fanatic is not fully convinced of the thing he is fanatic about.
A person who is not in pain, has the time and leisure to regard each thing, each person, each plant, each country, each product, each item, each project, each company, each path individually and uniquely, without the need to generalize or draw quick conclusions. A person free of pain, can stay in the Question. Staying in the Question is wide open awareness. This awareness can test different options, can focus in on one thing and then zoom out again. The growth in knowledge and intelligence in this state, is rapid and exponential. That’s how to reverse the dumbing-down of the mind and perceive endless possibility.
You can learn and discover much more with the attitude “I don’t know much yet” than with the attitude “I know it all”.