Don’t take yourself too seriously

A lot is going on in the world today. Through social media and news papers we get to see what happens on a daily or even hourly basis and it does not look good these days. Especially right now in the USA – a what we think rather evolved, western country – things are quickly escalating.

My take on all this is that we as humans take ourselves too seriously.

We’re just born into a family we have not chosen ourselves. Born in a country. With a certain “color”. In a family that lives in a certain “culture”. And which practices a certain “religion”. And has some hate issues because things happened to them or their ancestors in the past. When you are born, you don’t have the chance to choose any of this. It’s only until later, when, let’s say you are 14, 16 or 18, that you can actually start to think for yourself. But by then, the “damage” is already done. You’ve been taught certain morals. But mainly “group think”. Your own (is it, actually?) version of good and bad. Or, more accurate, the morals that the “culture” you have been brought up in thinks are good.

Very young people don’t have prejudice. It’s only when they are subject to peer pressure that they become prejudiced. It’s what is called “cattle behavior”. This cattle behavior can actually lead to millions of people following a certain “role model”. But such a role model can sometimes be quite evil. Presumably sane people can start following evil leaders just by pure peer pressure, which becomes even worse when the circumstances in which they are living are currently not that good. That’s how Hitler got big.

That’s why nurture has a much greater effect on humans than nature. You are not born a racist. Or a Christian. Or a Muslim. Or an anti-semitist. Or Buddhist. Or a white supremacist. There are no known genes that make you any of this. You are born into an environment that cultivates these morals. And it is very difficult to come up with your own ideas within such an environment. Your read the books and other publications your parents read. Or your priest or imam preaches. Or the guy with the biggest mouth in your neighborhood tells you to. Or a left- or right wing teacher teaches you to. How would you be able to sustain the peer pressure if you do not agree with any of this? How would you break out of this?

Taking someone from a certain situation into a completely other situation, let’s say by adoption, will have a great effect on that person. Just by putting a human in a completely different environment, that human will evolve into something completely different. Maybe even quite the opposite of what he or she was born into. Look at the evidence provided by identical twins that were separated after they were born and grew up in completely different environments.

The issue is: there is no right or wrong in culture or religion. If my parents would have been followers of the flying spaghetti monster, I would have had a passport now with a photo in it with me wearing a colander on my head. And it would all be fine. As long a I don’t take myself too seriously and I don’t bother other humans with my beliefs. A fact is that most people are atheists, because they don’t believe in 99% of the other officially recognized world religions.

If only humans would be able to not take themselves too seriously and not try to convert other humans, the world would be a much better place. But how will we accomplish this? I think by reading lots of books and other publications that open up your mind. Have discussions with people with other opinions. Weather you finally agree with them or not. Which makes you look at things from different angles. And by doing so become your own unique self. Just do not make the mistake to just thoughtlessly make other human’s ideas your own. You have to think for yourself! And of course get the opportunity to get secular education that actually teaches you to think for yourself. Education is not about learning other peoples opinions or beliefs, but learning how to learn! And in the end, even when you are 100% convinced of your own beliefs, don’t bother other people with it. Have discussions, of course, but don’t ever use violence or other oppressive methods to “teach” others your beliefs.

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