Convincing Yourself

I think one humbling idea that I have been toying with recently is the notion that anyone can convince themselves of anything. Much of this thinking likely stems from my reading of Sapiens (a year ago), but I want to further explore this thought and why I think it is underratedly important. 

It is important to understand this simple idea because it has tremendous power. 

For sake of convenience and efficiency, we, as a species, have mostly accepted life the way that it is. We question few things, like cultural movements that appear on the news, etc. but it feels as if we have universally agreed upon other components of the world.

Evil is bad. We are told this as kids and watch it in Disney movies. We are never told about why evil is bad….why evil is evil…but we accept it. That is an easy one. 

College is good. We are told this as kids and are reinforced it as we grow up. But is college good? Maybe? But who are we to question it? When should we start questioning it? 

There are infinite examples of relatively – at least in my mind – important items of life that are just accepted, rarely questioned, and carry on for the sake of carrying on. 

The humbling piece, that I mentioned, is that we can buy into anything and convince ourselves that we are right. We can avoid the truth many times simply by participating in certain cultures that reward our ambition. They validate our needs and thinking so we assume they are correct…but who is to say they are?

Who is to say the lifestyle in St. Louis is better than that of Chiang Mai? Or vice versa? 

Me? The white American male who makes more money than the average family in most of the world? Is that the measure? But why does money even matter? 

Why is that our heuristic? Should it be happiness? Should it be respect? Should it be our ability to run? 

Why should intelligence separate you? Does it? 

Why should relationships separate you? 

These are all aspects of society that are engrained in our universal conscious but by no means well thought out by each individual in the system. 

We need more deep thinking as to unpack why things are the way they are. Often times, the only “good reason” for a phenomenon is that you, yourself believe in it. 

Also published on Medium.