Escaping the Hand You Were Dealt

We all grow up indoctrinated; bathed in the common views and short-cut truths of the society in which we were raised. The early rebellious years don't tend to change this state of indoctrination all that much. For every obvious thing to rebel against, there are a hundred viewpoints layered deep - opinions and teachings left unexamined for so long that they become axioms. Those are the chains and walls that matter: the things that nearly everyone takes for granted, that place bounds upon how you view the world. But people tend to rebel against the color of the wallpaper - whilst taking it as read, just like their parents and peers, that the wall must exist and must be made of bricks.

Unless you are particularly willful, it can take a lifetime to escape the formative shaping of your mind. It is the slow labor of decades to examine the axioms you've been dealt by the random chance of your birth culture and conclude for yourself, by your own reasoning, that they are right or wrong. Or irrelevant, or subtly misleading, or any number of other dangerous attributes.

Few people look beyond the walls, however. That's just the way of life; human nature at work. The visionaries, the disaffected, and the other unreasonable folk - those who persist in examining and rejecting what is taken for granted by everyone else - are a tiny fraction of the population. This is one of the reasons why sweeping change is usually slow, even when it could in theory be rapid.

If you are one of the few people in the world to think seriously about engineered longevity, about greatly extended life spans, and about how to make it happen before you are too old to benefit, then you have escaped one of the more insidious axioms of our time. We are brought up to see that aging simply is - like rain or grass or bad-mannered people. That tens of millions of deaths every year and pervasive pain and suffering are unavoidable. That aging is graven in stone forevermore.

It isn't, of course. But that fact didn't stop us from spending year after year accepting, not questioning, not even thinking much about how things might be different.

So you have escaped a portion of your deep programming: a cause for celebration. But don't forget to dig around some more while you're there; there are no doubt many, many more axioms yet to be examined and tested.


A well presented philosophical statement !, my compliments to you, Mr.Reason.
Sasy Kumar

Posted by: Sasy Kumar at September 13th, 2010 3:24 AM

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