With the human mind being subject to such diverse influences as media, law, religion, family, friends, employers, clients, work colleagues; not to mention the environment, culture and traditions, peer pressure, politics, financial status and others, isn’t it difficult to see how anyone can truly say they think freely?
The sum total of all influences, experiences, mistakes both deliberate and accidental, and learning, make up what is our total life experience at any one particular time. This ‘total life experience’ changes on a moment by moment basis, as the influences we are subject to change and our experience and learning grows. This then provides the filter through which information received by our senses must pass before we form our perception of it.
Another way of thinking about it is this. When the senses are stimulated, the brain interprets the experience according to the information available to it. This includes the individual’s full life knowledge, experiences, fears, and prejudices. A perception is then developed of what the experience feels like. We fill the gaps of missing information with assumptions, then make decisions based on what we feel. Then we use rationale to justify it to ourselves.
But, how do we know that this perception is an accurate reflection of what is? Also, because we are unable to perceive something, how do we know that this reflects what is not?
How much of what you perceive with your senses do you believe?
How much of what is unperceivable to your senses are you unwilling to believe?
If your answer to my first question is “Everything” I may, for example, feel obliged to ask: What about tricks of light or sound? What about deliberate deceptions?
If your answer to my second question is “Everything” I may, for example, feel obliged to ask: What about the air you breathe? It’s worth noting that only 5% of the universe is observable matter.
In a world where our experiences change us and our senses fool us, it’s clear our perceptions often lie to us. In our more vulnerable state, this leaves us with a desire to know all the answers, to seek out and latch onto whoever or whatever seems to provide them, to attach ourselves to whatever person(s), politics, philosophy or religion has the most access to us. We then let them all tell us what to do and think.
The price of this is huge. That price is the surrender of the biggest obligation we owe to ourselves…
To exercise the Free Will that is our birthright. To think for ourselves, in complete freedom, to make up our own minds!