My Journey Of Self Discovery, and Why I’m Done With Debating Online
This is a rather lengthy reaction to my own actions and my own process of self discovery, and is not directed at any individual, although a rather large number of people are part of the story taking place throughout the last 2-3 years. There are various parts in here where I’ve included a “TL;DR” (“Too Long; Didn’t Read”) for those of you who just don’t have the time to read something that’s over 1000 words long, and want summaries instead. You’ll find them headlined in bold, so if that’s what you want, feel free to skip around to those parts.
For the last few years, or actually since I began living on my own, I began on a path to discover the world through my own eyes. Like most young adults, the journey most important involves a process that combines logical reasoning developed through learning from mistakes, and a path towards discovery of self. It isn’t something you actually think about, but that’s really what’s happening, and it’s this direction that leads to people asking a lot of questions, and seeking out the answers. In your mind you ask them… your ability to pursue the answers is what develops you into who you are.
Or at least, that’s how it is supposed to be. How I wanted it to be.
TL;DR: Every person is capable of thinking, and discovering on their own, without relying on group think. The intelligent ones do. You will always be a product of what you surround yourself with, but my efforts are to separate as an individual.
A moment for a little background
A few years ago, as some of you may know, I slowly began to pay attention to people, and care more about having meaningful conversations about life, motivation, and the world around me; trying to see the world the eyes that were not my own. Opening myself to a world that I hadn’t yet discovered. I have so much more to explore, obviously, but the expansion of knowledge shall be pursued regardless of the limitations imposed on the past, or from my surroundings. It’s never ending for me.
TL;DR: I began to engage in conversations that meant something to me, and allowed me to see the world through a variety of eyes. To gain a well-rounded understanding of people’s thoughts, feelings, motivations, and most importantly, the background they come from that forms those thoughts, feelings, and motivations.
Part of this is what caused me to become a bit more political, and have conversations with people about common issues. It’s helped me discover more about my values, and my position on things. I’ve gathered information resources to better shape the world around me, and better judge the type of people I’d like to spend time with… but that process has run its course, and it’s now time to move on to other more relevant and important things to move me forward in life. Part of growth is removing waste. Political discourse has become a waste of time. It was useful for quite a while, but not really anymore.
Throughout this adventure of logic and reasoning, I began to see a pattern unfold. It made me interested, but also made it more difficult to continue. People, in their immature form, are easily offended and naturally passionate about matters they don’t adequately understand. They are also, almost always, members of “group think” mentality, using quotes from others, and ways of thought past down to them from family and friends around them. They quite literally are a true product of their environment. There is little adaptation, little shift or movement. They find themselves comfortable with a group of likeminded-ness, even though it does little for them.
TL;DR: People naturally just take, believe, and share with others what they are told, because it’s more convenient than finding information independently.
I wanted to branch away from that mentality. Taking things from people around me was great, but when I really look into things, and study the evidence in front of me as objectively as possible, I begin to see so many flaws in what some say to me. I begin to see incorrectness, in its pure form, and not just because its different from how I think. If I didn’t care to dig deeper into it, I would have been living with this incorrectness, and likely sharing it with others like a plague. I didn’t want that.
I also began to see a ton of things incorrect about my own thoughts, and my own thinking. I was ridiculously incorrect on so many things, and I love that I was able to admit it, identify it, and adjust because of this. Part of self discovery, and discovery of self (two different things), is being wrong. It’s making mistakes, and assumptions, and statements that aren’t correct to make. That doesn’t mean the facts aren’t there, but rather, they are incomplete. That facts are always there, I just need to figure them out. Decode them, and adjust my way of thinking and living so that they’ll appear for me.
TL;DR: I’ve spoken to so many blind people, and discovered so many issues that I had within myself. I found that, as an individual, I wasn’t independent, and I wanted to seek out what others thought to get a well-rounded look at everything. The facts were there, I just needed to be able to admit how wrong I was in order to grow as a person, and discover them.
Part of this process involved the sharing of controversial ideas. It involved taking positions on topics, something I didn’t really have at the time. I can’t really stay neutral on something and expect to get a reaction worthy of my time. I needed to take a side, and talk with others about their side of the story. I never wanted to “debate” anything. I only wanted to converse and share.
“How do I really feel about this? I don’t have enough information to know for sure… let’s engage others in conversation, and get more opinions and viewpoints on the matter to see how others stand on the matter.”
Up to more recent days
I began to engage people on all sorts of topics, ranging from gay marriage, guns, religion, morality, law and justice, corporate structure and practice, finance, philosophy, charity, travel, science, education, and so on and so forth. Really, anything that warranted a discussion with a variety of eyes and viewpoints with attention on it, I wanted to join in on. I care about very little of it in reality (guns for example), but I found it was educational for me, not to see about the issues, but to see the types of people out there, and how those types of people tend to think.
Sometimes when that happened, something unfortunate followed: People allowed their emotions to get in the way of discussing a topic. They became unreasonable to communicate with, and some decided I was no longer worth their time as a person on this planet. Thankfully, many of the people who initially acted so immaturely eventually came around and wanted to talk with me again. Some even apologized. Those are people I’m thankful for knowing. People who are able to admit their growth as a human being, realize incorrectness, and adapt.
TL;DR: I hated “group think,” and I strived to get away from everything surrounding it. Some people, as a result of group think, were emotional and got offended by questions. It does nothing for them, but I learned a lot from it anyways. Learned how not to act. How not to be.
Emotions are tricky to navigate around. They control all motivation for most people, and therefore action and mostly everything else. But emotions are personal, and individual. They don’t matter to the whole, so I don’t care about them as much. I want to get around them, and some people don’t. They mistakenly interpret a differing viewpoint as an attack against themselves, personally, as if by not believing in what they do, I openly and directly call them foolish and stupid. It’s something I’ve managed to avoid ever falling victim to, but I’ve seen enough of it now to know that it exists in far too many people.
People getting angry or offended are just foolish. It’s quite silly, to take things on the internet personally. What do you sound like when you react to something that has absolutely nothing to do with you in a harsh and “OMG NO YOU DIDN’T” mentality? It makes you look like an insecure person. A person that is simply uncomfortable with themselves. This is part of what has happened to me over the last few years… I’ve become far more comfortable with myself, and being offended (which is a choice) just doesn’t happen anymore as a result. That’s the benefit of being secure.
But then something else happened. Something marvelous, and it has actually caused me to no longer want to share, and converse, and ultimately get involved in these types of engagements anymore. It wasn’t something that happened all of the sudden or anything, but rather, a slow moving progress bar reached 100% on what I thought it needed to progress toward. I’ve reached my goal, so to speak. I believe, as subjective as this actually sounds of course, that I’m capable of now looking at any situation, and event, and the events and actions surrounding any single person, objectively enough to satisfy me. I won’t get offended. People speaking their minds, even if they are talking about me, tells me more about them than it will every tell me about myself.
TL;DR: I find myself able to see enough multiple sides on an issue so that emotions no longer effect my judgement on something.
Now, I know what that sounds like. It sounds like I’m a pompous, big-headed asshole who now believes he’s always right and everyone else is always wrong…. but it’s quite different indeed.
In fact, according to me of course, I believe I’m able to see things in a way that there is no “wrong” and “right” as a black and white statement. Instead, both exist. That doesn’t mean I don’t find anything wrong (clearly, murdering another person in cold-blood is a no-no), but I’m finding myself reading a story, or looking at something happening, and immediately thinking about “WHY” something was the way it was, defaulting to a “what about this person’s background and history makes them think this is correct” sort of question. The result is quite astonishing. I feel great about it. I can look at a group of people that are completely unreasonable in their logic, completely ridiculous in their stance on matters, and more adequately understand those types of those people.
For example: There is a story I was shared recently about a religious group in Chile whose leader declared a three-day old baby was the “anti-christ”, and sentenced her to die in a bonfire. The group placed the naked infant child on a wood board, and quite literally tossed the child into the fire to burn alive. The mother of the child endorsed the act as well. You can read the full story in a new window if you’d like.
Now, I’d say something right away about this: It’s horrible. I instantly hate everything about these people, and I wish nothing but bad things for the rest of their lives. BUT… with that subjective, emotional-driven analysis out of the way… I understand why they did it. I understand the motivations behind their actions. I don’t agree it’s just, but I understand why they believe it was, because I understand their culture and the community beliefs they shared.
For many of you reading this, that’s going to be hard to wrap your head around. Just know that agreeing with something, and understanding something, is very different. Many people would say “Why is the world so messed up? What’s wrong with these people?” – I don’t need to really ask those questions anymore… because I can see what’s wrong with them. I’ll give you a hint: It’s not “they’re freakin crazy,” although many would simply go with that.
TL;DR: I don’t know if you can really understand how I feel now with a summary, so I can’t give you that. You’ll have to read above.
So back to the topic of self discovery: Why I don’t care to post any more political or controversial topics and/or opinions anymore.
I’ve come to the realization that having conversations on Facebook is having less and less of value to me now. Nobody has ever just gone and changed somebody’s mind over the internet. Everyone believes they can, but they can’t. They need a better understanding of personal beliefs and motivations. They need a better grasp on the process of indoctrination, and how the human mind is shaped by the environment surrounding it. That’s where differing viewpoints and differing “truth” comes from. It has nothing to do with what is real.
READ THIS: The Difference Between “Truth” and “Fact”
On top of that, I also make quite a bit of money working now, and it’s become a financial burden to even do such things when I could be working.
As an added benefit to focusing more on what I’m creating, and doing with my professional life, it’s also become more difficult to expand professionally via social media when my presence is predominantly personal. I don’t care for that anymore either. My presense is going to shift into being a more professional one, and this is only the first step of a few in that transformation. I want more exposure, and want more productive and enjoyable conversation. My online experience has been work related 10% of the time. I’d like it to be closer to 60%. So that’s the new direction.
I’m looking to present a more professional presence from myself in the future, hoping that I can increase exposure for everything I’m involved in by 300% in the next year by doing so. If I focus on what’s important to me professionally, and cease using social media personally all the time, I feel more people will be willing to follow along with me. In my extensive social media experience, the stuff that gets the most amount of exposure and response from people… is stuff that’s far more content-based, and less emotion based. Nobody likes a negative, sappy, Debbie-downer, including myself. Content that’s entirely emotional, personal, and specific to your bad times doesn’t resonate with enough people to be worth it. My life is actually relatively private, even though my social media accounts are all public. Almost everyone who reads this blog believes they know me… I’m betting it’s more “knows of me” instead. My parents don’t even know what I’m up to half the time.
Now, you’ve reached the end of this 2,600+ word editorial on myself and my story of self discovery. If you are still here, I’m humbled and impressed by your dedication on reading this. If you merely skimmed through it with the TL;DR parts, I’m not surprised, and will simply say thanks for stopping in and I hope you enjoyed all the memes anyways. For those of you who read this though, through everything… I sincerely thank you. It is the people like you that make me love expressing thought through blogging.
The only way you could even make this better, is to leave a comment in the area below! That’s the one thing I’ve never been able to talk anybody into for whatever reason unknown to me at this time… getting comments on the site. Oh well. Have a wonderful day anyways, and thanks again for reading.