Out of all we might think about life, how much does it matter what we choose to believe? Our minds being where we each create our own framework for reality, it must make quite a difference which things we let in and build our lives upon. Culture being, perhaps, that set of ideas with which we interpret, judge and respond to the world – the overarching backdrop for our existence.
It must add up? All the theories, facts, doubts, certainties, convictions and assumptions we’re using to approach our daily lives and all the choices, actions and conversations that fill them. Our fundamental worldview being that lens through which we’re understanding all we see and determining our responses within it; this repository of all our working definitions and the spectrum of options we feel are appropriate.
Aren’t our ideas on life pooling every day, in various ways? Coming together through economic systems, consumer decisions, social interactions, attitudes, gestures and words. Each person bringing their sense of meaning and worth to every single thing that they’re doing in this vast, free-flowing dance between countless individuals spanning our increasingly connected world.
Sometimes it seems quite staggering: the interconnectedness of modern life and difficulty in separating all the distinct bodies of thought converging on any moment. This sense in which we’re often now all talking at once, attempting to discuss everything from every angle within this one conversation. As if the world’s awareness is striving to expand to the point of matching our new global realities.
In that, aren’t we being untethered from earlier, more limited perspectives? Abandoning the neat little insular stories that could previously unite communities around “their” version of events to find our way into something that can somehow accommodate “other” takes on the same situations. This strangely complicated need to allow differing perspectives within one space.
Yet, despite all that, our ideas must still be filtering out into the realities we share? Into the content of our conversations and nature of our interactions as our beliefs or concerns spill over into our responses. Everyone’s daily lives filled with the evidence of how others are seeing things and the consequences their choices created.
Almost as if, untethered from those earlier more commonly held narratives, we’re all free to live within whatever version of reality we choose to believe. Our minds being distinctly our responsibility, it seems entirely possible people could reach the point of living in quite different worlds: interpreting the same events in significantly different ways, stringing them together with a wildly different sense of what it all means.
With thought, can’t we take a few strange turns and end up trapped? Suggestions accepted becoming the walls of our prisons as we struggle to find our way back to what life was before we saw it that way – reality, naturally, having distorted to “fit” our new ideas about it. Given how much our ideas inform our approach to reality, don’t we have to be quite careful over what we let in?
Notes and References:
Thought, knowledge & coherent vision
All that we add to neutrality
Voices within cultural life
The relationship between statistics & reality
What are we building here?
Culture’s conversation as a way of life
Seeing what things mean
Uniting us through a world of fantasy
Life as adjustments in meaning