Through the Looking Glass
In the famous story by Lewis Carroll, Alice goes through the looking glass and finds a strange world where things are distorted from reality.
An image in a mirror is flipped 180 degrees, so although you get a pretty good idea of what you look like, you don’t see yourself precisely as others see you. In fact, many people will tell you that you cannot know yourself as well as an objective observer, for you do not know how your actions affect others. It makes a sort of sense at first glance, for if action is based on thought, your actions are an accurate reflection of who you are.
However, only you can know your intentions and motivations; only you can know your thoughts. There is no one who knows yourself better than you!
“Yes, but you can fool yourself; you can hide your true intent even from yourself,” it is said. “And when that happens, others knows you better than you can ever know yourself.” Sad but true.
When you are not honest and open with yourself, you are like the looking glass: you reflect yourself to others, and to yourself, in a skewed fashion. That which is truly YOU becomes hidden behind a self-created façade. It is no longer exposed to the light, and so it cannot be seen. You become lost to yourself, and you deprive the world of your unique creative viewpoint.
You begin to value privacy more than openness and self-honesty, for a lie, an untruth, even a prevarication, requires secrecy. Thus do you shield yourself from your own light. When you go down this road, others do begin to know you better than you know yourself. This is a position in which you have given up your power to others. It is the state that the general run of mankind has been in for several millennia. It is how so many fall for the absurdities of religious and political dogma, which stifles free will and conscious decision making. It is why mankind has been so childishly easy to manipulate throughout the centuries, and why our species has never matured.
Openness, honesty and transparency are vital in the relationship you have with yourself. Every time you lie to yourself, you encapsulate a part of your life force: there is now a hidden part of you that you have to keep secret. The road to loss of self ALWAYS begins with something trivial.
Let’s say you are on a flex schedule at work, but the rule is that you must put in eight hours every day. You come in at different times each morning, so nobody notices that you are leaving an hour early every day. One day your boss asks you why you are leaving at 4, and you say that you came in at 8 and didn’t take a lunch. Both of these are lies. After that, when people ask you about your schedule, you become “sensitive” on this topic, people can push your buttons. You now have an “issue.” Everyone reading this knows how it goes.
The reason not to lie isn’t because of some moral code, or because the Bible tells you not to, or because some authority figure said so. It’s because operating this way in life simply turns you into a robot. Better to lie, and do it consciously, then to suppress your free will and conscious decision making by mindlessly following rules laid down by somebody else! If you lie consciously, you will be aware of the consequences, and you might even learn something, if you have any intelligence.
Dogma is dangerous because it suppresses the cognitive function.
Dogma says, “Don’t look at this maxim and compare it to your experiences in life; just accept it. People wiser than you know all about this. If you don’t, you will suffer dire consequences.”
Religion is essentially dogma, the oldest established on the planet. Dogma is simply a limited collection of thoughts that is repeated over and over again. In a previous blog I’ve already quoted Goebbels, the Nazi Propaganda Minister, who said that he could convince anybody that a square was a circle simply by repetition. That’s what religion does, or any dogma: “obey the will of God (as interpreted by our religion) or go to hell.” “A Presidential candidate in the United States must stand for a strong military.” “We must help our fellow man, therefore, the government must bail out those who are holding mortgages they can’t afford.” “You have to love the members of your family.” I’m sure you can think of more, and better dogma’s.
What’s the point?
The point is, that it’s better to be conscious than unconscious, even if you are a liar. Even if you violate cherished and established modes of thought. A liar you can deal with! You can reason with a liar, but not a dogmatist. Theoretical physicist Lee Smolin, in his book “The Trouble With Physics,” details a conversation he had with a Christian fundamentalist about dinosaurs. The fundamentalist said that dino’s still exist because Rush Limbaugh said so on his program, or some such nonsense. Smolin blew holes in all of her arguments, but the fundamentalist would not change her opinion, and insisted that a brontosaurus could live in a cave. Such people are not conscious; and cannot learn from experience.
“The few, the proud, the Marines.” My brother-in-law is a combat trained Marine, and I have a lot of respect for that. But Marine commercials essentially show people being trained as robots; killing machines who follow orders from above. It takes all kinds to make a world, as my grandfather said, but self awareness and conscious living is the only way to ensure personal sovereignty. Sovereignty doesn’t come out of the barrel of a gun, or from orders on-high. Sovereignty is integrity. Integrity is wholeness. And wholeness is happiness. It all begins with mindful and conscious living.
Dogma coalesces and entrains thought around it; stifling creative expression and independent thinking. It is how mankind has been controlled for millennia. As times change, dogma becomes more and more outdated and inapplicable. Dogma becomes, essentially, lies, due to changing conditions. The difference between a liar and a dogmatist is that the liar lies consciously, whereas the dogmatist does it unconsciously. Propagandists combine conscious lying with dogma.
The truly great liars are propagandists. Propagandists are experts in persuasion and the molding of human opinions. “We must fight terrorism,” says former President Bush robotically. Congress robotically goes along and passes Patriot Acts, FISA, the Homegrown Terrorist Protection Act, and other traitorous pieces of legislation which destroy our basic freedoms. We know from this that both the President and the Congress are operating unconsciously. Our political institutions have lost their self-awareness, and the will to consciously perform their Constitutional duties. They have become dogmatic, and have lost their integrity. And we also know that the people of the United States, who have voted them into office, have also lost their sovereignty. Our nation is not under attack from terrorists, but from dogmatists. We are in a prison of our own making, which stems from our own unconsciousness.
Propagandists, dogmatists, religionists, politicians, and liars, however, are not dangerous at all. They can be defeated by conscious and mindful thinking. Ladies and gentlemen, there is no substitute for self-awareness. No “system” exists in which you can plug in your mind and put yourself on automatic pilot, while still maintaining your integrity.
It is time for individuals to inspect their belief systems and begin to throw away old patterns and habits of thought. This is what happens when you have a spiritual awakening: you release from old dogmas and see yourself, and the world, from a much broader perspective. The solution to the problems and difficulties of life is not the latest marketing breakthrough, secret code, or ten-step program, but the decision to live life consciously and mindfully. In this way you find your own center, express your own unique point of view, and discover the things that are truly worth learning. I can tell you from experience that it doesn’t get any better than that!
Kenneth James Michael MacLean