Linda Hesthag  Ellwein

Communications, Change, and Photography, Oikonomia, Inc.


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Have you believed something - or the idea of something - and discovered you were mistaken, or wrong? What's your story & what did you learn?

Our world view often conjures up ideas or beliefs that seem to 'fit' within it. We often cluster beliefs with ideas or behaviors that 'sound' right to us. Every now and then, the ideas we hold are simply wrong, or at least need to be questioned. I'd like to hear examples of paradigm shifts that changed your world view or point of view. When have you been mistaken?

These experiences, or paradigm shifts, often surface through cultural beliefs, politics, in beliefs relating to sustainability and environmental preservation, or human behavior/relationships - but are certainly not limited to these. What have you assumed to be true or right, and suddenly found yourself doubting your certainty?

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    Aug 15 2011: Santa Claus.


    More generally: That thinking is efficacious. Particularly, my own. (And also yours.)
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    Aug 8 2011: I grew up in Cameroon, a country in central Africa. Unlike the american culture where being curvy is frowned upon, being skinny was not something we aspired to be. In fact, when you were skinny, people would make fun of you by saying that you look like an Ethiopian (which I know now stems from the famine they suffered in the 80s). I therefore grew up believing that all Ethiopians live in starvation and that the only thing that defined them. At the time it seemed like a harmless comment, but I realized how truly harmful such comments can be when I moved to the U.S. Suddenly, I was known in my high school as the girl with Tarzan as her neighbor, living among monkeys and wearing nothing but a tree leaf to dissimulate certain parts of my body.
    Africa continues to be seen as the desperate continent plagued by famine, war, disease and corruption when there is so much more than is covered by the media. The adverse effects of stereotypes is not exclusive to africans; Humans have a natural tendency to stereotype because quick judgment will enable you to escape a lion before wondering if it was just a fuzzy cuddly big cat, or in modern times, avoiding a rapist in a dark alley before wondering if he was just a friendly stranger. However, we must learn to do better whenever we can because reducing people to the stereotypes to which they are attached makes us miss out on a big opportunity to learn a lot from each other.
    Stereotypes shaped the way I viewed people but now that I know better, I actively work to see people beyond the social construction of their background.
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    Aug 6 2011: I am a bit ashamed to write this... When I was in highschool, I used to read a lot. At that time, I didn't really judge what I read, so of course, I considered everything that was published true. Once I found an old book about homosexuality. Since I was 15 and noone was talking openly about those things (and I didn't know anyone who was gay) I just accepted what was written in that book. It was not really hard because at that time I was going to church, hearing the same things over there. It said that being gay is a disease, an abnormal mental state that happens when men are deprived of women, like on ships, or in jails. I even debated on the subject in highschool, and still remember the strange looks of my classmates when I told my opinion :D
    Of course, growing up, education and meeting gay people changed the way I think.
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      Aug 8 2011: I understand! I'd venture to guess you are not alone in this experience. There are so many things in life we come to believe, for different reasons, and life's experiences expand our thought to a whole new way of thinking.
      I appreciate your willingness to share it, Marlja. Thank you. It's a perfect example!
      • Aug 26 2011: I also have the same experiences like you.YEs something sometimes is not true or false.It is just something we agree or disagree! Believe it or not,i just tell you the truth.
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    Aug 10 2011: I have this blessing and curse of a thing called empathy. With this empathy, I, even as a child was fascinated by people. This probably explains why at even such a young age I was attracted to writing, acting and the art of story telling whether through books, movies, stage or any other medium. I sought to understand, to walk a mile in another's shoes, and to experience all kinds of lives and adventures. The problem for me as I was growing into an adult, who had various interests and ideas, but a master of none was in finding my true self. What is it i have to give? What is my purpose? Who am I? Could I be happy doing this, but what about that, oh and this would be great, wouldn't it? But it doesn't stop there. What about my beliefs? For you see, with empathy and the ability to open your mind to another perspective and point of view, well, it can get pretty confusing to find your personal journey or that one place you feel you can truly fit in. I was great at making seemingly not so important decisions difficult, and the important ones a part of a a subtle or not so subtle breakdown or breakthrough. So I suppose through the majority of my 20's I lived my life in sort of mini lives. Searching for that place I could call my own, yet living in various and sometimes radically diffent ways to the one previously experienced. All the while judging my sense of worth most likely in comparison to those that seemingly knew themselves and what they wanted out of life. I never commited fully to anything, so that I would not regret having made the choice later and out of fear that I do not have what it takes to be a master of anything.

    My shift is this: Even my search has been my own journey. It was my choice to seek and experince many lives, and when i stopped comparing myself through other's eyes and possible perceptions of what I am not or lack, I began to see through my own eyes of who I really am and what is important and meaningful to me.
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      Aug 11 2011: The world needs people like you Lella. Someone has to be able to see and feel from all sides. Your gifts of empathy and the willingness to walk in others shoes allows others to see how it's done, and builds trust from all sides. I've always thought people like you were a bridge, and they don't even know it sometimes. It is fascinating how some people can graduate college, get married, start a career, buy the house and have a tidy life; while others find their bliss on a messier path. I always thought that's what the twenties were for...for exploring and finding yourself. It's a great time to do that. And some of us do it for a lifetime. You're so right....what matters, imo, is what is meaningful to you and those that depend on you. When you live a life that's true to your own heart, you are a better person for those around you too. At least that's what I've learned so far. But I could be wrong. ;D
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        Aug 27 2011: Linda, I loved your phrase "find their bliss on a messier path." I think empathy, or the urgency to understand what others are experiencing and to help if one can, comes hand in hand with embracing complexity. I continue to be surprised in my life at how readily many people I encounter place quite diverse collections of people in a single category. Hans Rosling's TED talk offers one example of how such groupings are derived from misconceptions. A related tendency I witness repeatedly is the way people hold to ideas of the ways they are different from others that may serve the ego but are not valid. It is a "them" and "us" sort of thinking that exaggerates differences.
  • Aug 27 2011: Taking a more personal route, I learned that my self-image was quite different from the way others viewed me. I suppose this would translate into a more universal lesson about the importance of others' opinions -- while they certainly shouldn't dictate one's life, I think acknowledging them has been productive in discovering/finding myself (I'm still a teenager, so I have a ways to go!).

    My story is a rather jumbled one, as the journey is ongoing. Though I am multiracial (Caucasian and Asian), I always saw myself as your average white kid, growing up in a sheltered and predominantly white suburb. I've grown up with my Chinese grandparents' war stories and other very "Asian experiences," but I always thought I was culturally white. However, from a young age I knew my classmates saw me differently. Generally they were never mean or exclusive, but as I got older I realized my race carried much more weight than I ever imagined. Whether it was an ex boyfriend who was attracted to my "exotic" features, or the casual suggestion I try a restaurant's Asian salad because "well, you know... [I] would probably like it," this label was fundamental to the way many people viewed me. I was really quite astonished, and even hurt, though most people didn't mean anything by their comments. I'm sure countless others have had similar experiences, regardless of race or ethnicity.

    With this disparity largely cleared up in high school (not without some identity crisis and struggle!), I went to college thinking I understood myself. Again I was wrong. To make a long story short, I've learned that some of my other traits give people certain opinions of me that I hadn't anticipated. Thankfully to my knowledge they're mostly positive, and even make me seem more interesting than I really am! Perhaps I'm a little disappointed that my identity isn't completely my own, but this has been a fascinating process. Regardless, I hope I'll have it sorted out soon.
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      Aug 28 2011: Claire, Great story. And you write extremely well.

      Oh, and I'm not a teenager (far, far from it) and I'm still going through the same things you describe.
      • Aug 28 2011: Hi Thomas,

        Many thanks for the kind comment. I guess it'll be a while before I can figure myself out -- if only there was a way to speed up the process!
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          Aug 28 2011: Do you know how Michelangelo carved the Pietà?

          He removed all that was not a part of the beauty.

          No more; no less.
        • Aug 29 2011: the sooner you find out who you are, the sooner you'll long for the days you were exploring possibilities, don't rush it
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      Sep 2 2011: I'm fascinated by your comment, "Perhaps I'm a little disappointed that my identity isn't completely my own..."
      I beg to differ, yet I know what you mean. The projections others place on us is their picture or view, and the one we own is ours, imo. However, I imagine it gets rather jumbled up too - since we have projections we're throwing at others, and self images we want to portray. I loved this example too...I imagine all of us, no matter the age, have struggled with perceptions others have of us - some good, some bad. I've also had some real challenges with this in my life for various reasons, and it's been an ongoing process that continuously deepens and strengthens my own understanding of myself, and who I am in relation to others. Thank you so much for sharing this.
      • Sep 2 2011: Hi Linda,
        Your view is also fascinating! I can see what you mean. Certainly we create (or discover?) our own identities, but for me at least, the opinions of others have caused me to reflect and reevaluate myself. People's comments provoked thoughts such as "Oh, I guess I am pretty Asian!" or "I didn't realize my interest in art was so obvious, I guess people can see that," etc. and these ideas were incorporated into my self-image. Perhaps this incorporation was a conscious decision, meaning I ultimately have control over my own identity, like you said. Thanks very much for following up -- you've made me dig deeper when it comes to this issue!
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          Sep 2 2011: Clair - sometimes the things people see in us are those things we are gifted with, such as your interest in art. I never thought I was creative, or had any talent whatsoever. I remained on the periphery of creative ventures by working around creatives. It turns out, even though people mentioned it to me often over the course of my life, I am creative and did not acknowledge it. One of my professions is as a fine art photographer now, but because I didn't fit the mold - not being gifted in drawing - I didn't think I had talent. Perhaps those things others see in us is a window to things we don't know about ourselves yet. I've learned it's valuable to pay attention to those things that light us up, or light others up... :)
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    Aug 16 2011: After spending years in the military I rejected the idea that government was anything other than a racket for social control and became very much a libertarian. I thought free markets could solve problems that government bureaucracies could and would never address.

    I later realized that governments are just as much market driven as privately owned businesses -- but that they are in the business of selling dreams: progress in exchange for your vote. And then I realized that private firms are in the same business: happiness if you buy our product.

    Moving along, I realized that bureaucracies -- though soul-crushing -- do sometimes solve problems. Governments provide roads and schools (not perfect or even really good roads and schools, but roads and schools nonetheless). And private firms provide gee-gaws like cars and ovens (not perfect or even really good cars and ovens, but cares and ovens nonetheless).

    And eventually I recognized that corporations are only minimally committed to free markets. Internally they operate on a command structure much like any communist party -- or the military. And those at the top of the bureaucracy run it for their own benefit, leaving enough for 'the sheep' so that they don't all run off. And if the captains decided to take a larger share of the pie, there's no one there to stop them. So I learned that corporations are simply mirrors of every government on the planet -- where the victor pays himself the spoils.

    I'm now reconciled to the imperfections of our social structures, but even more than that I realize they spring from the basic essence of human nature: the desire of the herd to be herded, the need of some to be followed, the concupiscence of the human animal, and the inevitability that the weak will be sacrificed to feed the strong (after all the platitudes end). As Cassius said in Shakespeare's 'Julius Caesar': "The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, But in ourselves, that we are underlings."
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    Sep 1 2011: I was raised as a Jehovah's Witness. Around age 18 I left that group completely, still not entirely sure that I had done the right thing. Four years later, though, while meditating, I asked myself the question, "What evidence is there in the world that my belief in God was something other than self-delusion?" My sub-conscious had already done all the work and the answer was obvious. In the twinkling of an eye I switched from believer to atheist.

    Yet there was still much to unlearn. Saying "There are no gods" was no answer at all; it was merely a negation. Indeed, most of the atheists I encountered seemed (to paraphrase C.S. Lewis) annoyed at God for daring not to exist. Was there a spiritual answer? I looked. And looked. And in nearly every case I found self-delusion.

    Nonetheless, running underneath all that delusion, in science, in philosophy, in religion, was an attractive attitude. If this attitude had words, it would say, "Reality does not conform for your convenience."

    I eventually took a year off from my life and dedicated myself to finding reality. Oddly enough, it was there all along, but I hadn't been able to see or otherwise sense it because I kept imagining what it was supposed to be, according to what I'd been told or what I thought I needed.

    I learned, over the years, that there are countless people who will tell you that they have found the truth. In the vast majority of cases they have not found the truth. Rather, they crave for you to see things their way so they can further persuade themselves that they have successfully modelled reality.

    There are few things as refreshing as the realization that I've been wrong. In each case, that's one less belief to defend.
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      Sep 1 2011: Hi Timothy,interesting you point out that we want believe in something so much that we almost think we contend reality and unturned bend others belief to ours. It's only when you realize you're alone in your thoughts and that there's more to what you think is right.
      If you don't mind me asking, what was it that you discovered from your quest?
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        Sep 2 2011: What I discovered from my quest is that I am not separate. This is what love has been saying to me all along, but my brain was too busy regurgitating noise to hear it.
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      Sep 2 2011: what a lovely response, Timothy. Your conclusion reminded me a little of three decades ago when people were going to EST. Do you remember that? One attended so they could get "it." It sounds like you got it...for you. :)

      That is my experience too. Being wrong generally makes me laugh...belly laugh, as a matter of fact. It's one of the most refreshing things I know - when I've held on to a 'belief.' I find it most fun when it comes to politics, or beliefs I've bought into because they 'sound right' or politically correct. They're the best of all... :) Thank you!
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        Sep 2 2011: I never attended EST but I did read a book that depicted a session. It is said that you can't get it by reading about it, but I did take away quite a bit. In particular I recall a scene where a big tough guy was asked to walk around the stage like a woman. At first I didn't get why he'd be asked to do that. But eventually I got it, and perhaps so did he: "big tough guy" is a role, not an intrinsic feature of the organism.
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      Sep 2 2011: Hi Timothy,

      "Reality does not conform for your convenience."

      I collect quotes and I copied this line to my quote file.
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    Aug 22 2011: Where should I start ? It is gonna be a long list I guess.

    Communism is bad, communism is good. Communism has both good and bad sides.

    Beautiful girls are good, beautiful girls are not good. Not all beautiful girls are good.

    Writing is the meaning of my life, writing doesn't mean anything to me, If I write the right thing then it is really meaningful.

    God exists, god may exists , god doesn't exists, I don't care if god exists or not it is loss of time to think on it while billions non-gods are suffering too much.
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    Aug 15 2011: I used to believe that people can be happy only if they are rich until I saw a nomad living in an almost dry land in a down hill place but very happy with her kids and family.

    That really changed my mind & even now the question sometimes comes to my mind that how can someone with such a poor living standard can still be happy.
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      Aug 16 2011: I understand exactly, Rafi! I had a similar experience a few years ago. I spend a great deal of time on public lands in the American West. In the high mountains are, what we call, cowcamps. These are generally small, bare cabins the cowboys stay in during the summer when cattle are grazing, to look out for the cattle and protect the land by ensuring there isn't damage to streams or overgrazing of grasses. This is one of my very favorite places to be on earth. I feel free and alive when I'm in this place with no water, no electricity and no civilization as we know it. As a photographer, I travel to many places, and recently went to Nicaragua. In the small villages, with no services, employment, etc., I was awestruck when I realized these huts were not much different than cowcamp. And the people were warm, loving, joyful and self sustaining, in many ways. I had often felt pity for those without basic services such as electricity, but now understood how relative it was.

      Of course, that's not to say they might like to have those things. And, if they want them, I wish it for them. But it is not necessary for happiness and connectedness. I no longer pity them, but support them in what they choose to have. And I can't wait to go back to sleep on their dirt floors. Thank you for your story, Rafi!
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        Aug 17 2011: Hi linda, Great experience. I will google more on cowcamps.
      • Aug 21 2011: I think in the Canadian west there are still a few places like that. When an undergraduate geology student I worked in Western Canada on ranch lands and stayed in cowcamps (there being few trees to build tent supports out of) and often met cowboys on horseback as they slowly hearded their cattle from one range to another.

        You are exactly correct, having nothing (or not much) in a material sense does not mean that you are poor, it just means you don't have a lot of junk. Go outside and look at the stars, work in the gardens, work with the animals, explore the lands....its one of my fondest memories of university.
    • Aug 21 2011: I believe Stephen Bezruchka gives the answer to your question - but so much more - in this ZNet article:
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    Aug 10 2011: I used to believe in reward and punishment. Then one day I realized that these are human constructs and have no place in mature adults. Yes children's esteem is raised by a reward, even a gold star, and we must teach that inappropriate behavior will be disciplined. Disciplining is quite different from punishment be cause anger is not associated with it. I also realized that hell as a place of punishment does not exist. We can certainly create our own hell in our minds but that is much different than someone else imposing it on us. And I think the most valuable truth I ever learned is that we humans truly know nothing directly. As socrates said "The only thing tat I know is that I do not know" This so hard to make some people to understand.
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      Aug 10 2011: You know Helen, I recently read a book by a mathematician that bulids on your first point. He was working on the issues of evolution based on cooperation and the equations that he proved demonstrated that punishment makes losers of us all. If we seek to punish someone else's behaviour in life or in the market place the outcome for all is lower. I thought that was a facinating confirmation of something most of us know intuitively, He said that mathematics has begun to run parallel to the basic tentents of faith- forgivenss, kindness, cooperation.
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        Aug 10 2011: Debra.........That is nice to hear. Thx.
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    Aug 9 2011: As a child I had the desire to know the answers on all questions about my existence and everything else. As I dismissed my faith as a catholic at the age of ten I was convinced that science had all answers and as a real rationalist I knew for sure that every mystery would be solved whenever enough data was discovered. Facts was all that matters and feelings were childish remnants.
    In my twenties I started to read a few books of Carl G. Jung and he could make it clear to my ratio that all we know is that what we make out of what our senses tell us. And further that what our senses are capable of perceiving is almost nothing and determind by our evolutionary needs for food, mating and safety.
    So what we are aware of is the product of our personality; being the result of evolutionary development over billions of years. It is what makes us human but has nothing to do with reality at all as we feel ourselves to be real. And yes that if we want to taste a bit of that reality we have to feel and feel better as we close our senses and look inward.
    This realization started a whole new way of investigation with the knowledge that science can reveal how things work but will never know why things are this or that way or exist in the first place; and also that rationality is but a tool.
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      Aug 9 2011: That's quite a shift, Frans! Yes, the endless complexity in life certainly makes me think we cannot know much at all...even with our best efforts, and best science. We only know what we know, and what can be understood using our rational mind. This does leave so much to wonder about. I love that idea! I wish there was much more study in developing the senses, or at least in recognizing more of them.
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        Aug 10 2011: I feel as if humans have this need to have a 110% belief in something, it used to be religion and tomorrow it will be science....then what? In 500 years will we discover oh wait science is not the answer to everything, there is a world of metaphysics which is much more attractive. Maybe this is a human need, to have something bigger to firmly believe in, something dominant. Why not have a balance? What we know and what we don't know are both a fundamental part of our reality. They are as real as any matter...then why must we denounce what we don't know and fail to understand?
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          Aug 17 2011: About humans I don't know but I do know that those that believe don't know and that those who want to know explore science. Those that do know have no words to explain something that has no shape, substance nor measure and is no thing at all. Reality is just a mirage of that what is.
        • Aug 21 2011: Being self aware drives us to create a model of how things work. Now the TED audience is a small group of "smart" surrounded by a huge ocean of "stupid", so these models have to be farily simple.
          It used to be that smart and powerful people presented religion to the masses as the explaination for why things happened the way they happened. That control still persists today and it putting up a damn good fight for its life.

          Science is another way of looking at things, but it is less deterministic and harder to understand and has lots of philosophical sink holes like MDR (just for example).

          It all stems from our need to see order and determinism in the world around us, even if its not there.

          I walked out of church when I was 8 (as I recall) because I couldn't believe what they wanted me to swallow. Science became the tool to understand the world, which I like the best because it always assumed it was wrong and needed to be better explained. That to me always seemed closer to reality than any other "world view" I have come across.
      • Aug 18 2011: I was told that if I wanted to make God laugh, I should tell him my plans
      • Aug 21 2011: Aldous Huxley's essay on comparative religion, The Perennial Philosophy, was the turning point for me. The brain (at least, the part adapted to dealing with, the worldly, more superficial sphere of knowledge), as a reducing valve for survival in time, makes sense to me.

        His later experiences under the effects of the halucinogen, mescalin, recorded in Heaven and Helll The Doors of Perception, if not quite as beautiful, is at least as fascinating. Here is a YouTube gem:
        • Aug 23 2011: Carl Sagan's message was the turning point for me. Actually "turning point" are not the right words. I was gracefully arching away until Sagan pushed me into an 90 degree heist.
    • Aug 15 2011: Frans, don't give up too easily: we are products of evolution , as you say , but we are perfectlly natural, and belong here. IIn fact, it is a remarkable act of creativity to insist that we are alone and helpless in the universe. And science does not just deal in facts, but is also very creative in making sense of them, not always successfully, but according to rules that make sense. And we 've had many demonstrations that these "theories" have merit. Ultimately, it is true, we have to take some axionatic terms on "faith", thiat is , undefined, but as long as they are well chosen, that's not a point against them.. The Greek atom idea was a masterpiece, and very creative; so later it became obviously inadequate, but that improved our theory,, right? And wasn't it Jung who developed the idea of Collective Unconscious? A very promising idea that is just now getting into .biology. It may turn out that "God" is a consciousness Field, and we are part of it.
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        Aug 16 2011: Yes, Shawn, that's how I think of it now...I like the idea that there's truth in the spiritual - things we just can't see yet. Of course, I could be wrong. However, the need or desire for people to believe in something greater may be an intuitive knowing of some kind - one we have no answers for in science, at least not yet. Giving up because we lack knowledge is not reason enough for me to give up on the concept. Dogma, control and top-down, manmade bureaucracies that call themselves religion are another matter. There is so much we don't know yet...I like the idea of continuing to enjoy the mystery.

        It's when human nature wants to define what it looks like and control it that we get in trouble. We could be right, and we might be both cases. :)
    • Aug 18 2011: Carved on the wooden lintel at the entry door to Jung's house.."Whethever or not called, God will be present"
    • Aug 22 2011: I dismissed my faith in Catholicism when I was very young and always had a thirst for the answers to the big questions and although I am an artistic creative type with a right brain I have always had a measure of rationality in my inquisitiveness embracing the scientific left brain approach where possible in my search for meaning and answers to those big questions . What I have discovered is that I was wrong about a lot of things and still know very little, if anything, even though I often get told that I am right . After many years of research and experimentation especially with the use of entheogens guided and inspired by luminaries like Terrence Mckenna and ancient indigenous cultures of the amazon and Eastern tradtions eg Vedanta,Tao, Zen, I have managed to lift the veil on inner world that is literally 'astounding' and finally made the connection with the line in the Bible that states 'the kingdom of God is within you and every living being ' . I always thought that line was symbolic or metaphoric..boy was I wrong! Its literal more literal than one can possibly imagine especially after a healthy dose of DMT.
      So my 5 minute skirt with atheism ,determinism and/or the reductionist materialist philosophic mind set died a very short and quick death to say the least . Science serves its purpose in the natural world but in my opinion it is fatally flawed .That flaw lies in the very fact it relies solely on objective observation. for it to progress and evolve as a tool of learning for mankind it must start embracing the subjective .Or rather an empirical model be developed by current scientific paradigms which factors in subjective research data and cutting edge research in the fields of quantum physics and the theory that the brain is a receiver of consciousness not a transmitter . Professor Amit Goswami presents a very strong case in his documentary 'the quantum activist' which I highly recommend to all those science and reason dogmatists
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        Aug 23 2011: There is no division between the seer, the seen and the seeing. To be objective you have to set yourself outside the world. This nothingness then is what most people think themselves to be, call them selves and is called ego. The ego acts only upon the imagery it has created out of the stimuli from the senses. All that imagery that's been built up during human evolution to have a remembrance about events and appearances and therewith gained the capability to think. In thinking men could act independently of nature on its environment to meet its needs and in doing so stepped out of the animal kingdom. By identification with their thinking humans know themselves to be objective which is an illusion. There's no object nor subject, it is all one being.
        This asks another kind of science to grasp and you've done it your way but there are many more ways.
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    Aug 8 2011: I was finding myself making a lot of mistakes psychologically and felt a lot guilty about it. One day I told this matter to my spiritual Teacher and he instantly told me, that whenever you do anything, it is perfect, if you do not find is perfect for you to do, your will not allow you to do it, but the good or bad happens in the eyes of the onloker, some people wil find your act goo and some will find if bad, it all depends on the perception of onlooker that determines good and bad. It has nothing to do with your act. just do it. He told me. Do not be judge of your act.

    From that moment I always try to make sure that I do not judge my act. I simply do it.
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      Aug 8 2011: Hi Mistry,

      That reminds me of the Shakespeare quote:

      "...there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so..."

      (From Hamlet.)
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        Aug 9 2011: my grandpa who is 85, raised up in a village in a rural area of Pakistan says that all the time :)
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      Aug 8 2011: I like what your spiritual teacher told you. It sounds like deep wisdom - the kind that builds an internal confidence and strength, reminding you to trust yourself, and your inner knowing.

      Your story reminds me of a saying we have: "What you think of me is none of my business." Those few words have freed me from needless anxiety on many an occasion. And, Thomas, a friend and I often say to one another, 'Could be good, Could be bad." I know this comes from a spiritual teacher, but not sure who. Perhaps it was Gurumayi. It has brought me peace often, as well.

      What a powerful lesson that is. So much energy is wasted on judging ourselves, which could be much better used towards our goals. Great wisdom...that I can't hear enough of. Thank you.
  • Sep 6 2011: i used to firmly believe that a person should keep their calm and never get angry, especially at children, who just need a chance to learn.

    i'm an ESL teacher, mostly at junior high school level. one of the things i try to do is have my students use english meaningfully, which sometimes means having them research a particular topic and present there findings using the language they've learned, and making a poster to support their speech with visual elements to aid the comprehension of the audience. on one occasion they'd spent a few eeks preparing and it was the due they were due to do their presentations, and the first group they got up and held up hastily drawn and unfinished posters, and accompanied them with short, half-assed, mostly forgotten speeches. i thanked them and moved on to the next group, but by the time the 4th or 5th group had presented the same level of work, i was angry, and told them so. it wasn't that the work was poor, it was that their effort was poor. they could do, and had done plenty of times previously, much better.

    at the end of the lesson i returned to my office and immediately felt terrible about it and felt that way for the entire time until the next lesson. on the way to class, one of the groups caught up to me and asked if they could redo their presentation. of course i agreed, and entering the classroom i found the others practicing their speeches and upon seeing me also asked it they could do their presentation over. it was an important lesson for me, that sometimes the best thing you can do for someone is to give them a (metaphorical) kick in the pants to help them realise their potential.

    being overly generous to kids does them no favours, since one day they'll come up second best against others who haven't been allowed to fall short. i'm not promoting shouting but it does have its uses - for me it's been about once every 2 years. praising mediocrity encourages mediocrity. call a spade a spade!
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    Sep 2 2011: That race was real and meant something when it, in fact, doesn't. I mean, there is the 'one drop rule' that actually prevents people from putting they are 'white' on their birth certificate if there is at least "one drop" of 'black' blood in them. And there are, of course, all those slaves we brought over here to build our railroads and pick our cotton because being a different race/ black meant they were less than.

    Yeah, learning how ridiculous the categorizaiton of race is; learning that it has no solid biological basis and even further learning that even though many of us know better laws like the 'One Drop Rule' still exist, affected how I understood the world.

    Now does that whipe away the inequities for those people who have been judged on their so called race? No, not at all. This foolish categorization has done so much damamge that we will be fixing things for decades to come. It is time that we all learn the truth about our own human variation. And if we are going to discriminate and judge one another, because unfortunately that probably is not going to stop anytime soon, don't do it in the name of an idiotic, antiquated, erroneous categorization system.

    Right or wrong, you can judge a person on his/her character, his/her behavior but to judge a human being on his/her skin color is an affront to decency and intelligence.

    Oh and for those who are confused about what you are because your mother is 'black', and your dad is 'white' and your grandmother, is 'Japanese' for example etc. I have an answer for you:

    You are Homo,sapiens, sapiens with a diverse gentic background with bits of genes from vairous parts of the world, and more recently,possibly even from different human 'types' such as Neanderthal ;-) Read up people! Read up. The truth shall set you free.
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    Sep 2 2011: I was certain I was a Christian yet doubtful about religion until the fourth time members of my sect said in the presence of my wife that members of her Christian sect--she--would suffer helll. I researched the fourth issue and learned that the members of my sect misunderstood but could not persuade them. Confirmation is a sacrament. They did not defend faith in their ignorance.
    Inspired, I considerd her opinions more earnestly than before (then twenty-five years’ marriage). For the first time, I realized that she holds that God and Jesus are the same—absolutely. There’s no explanation; it’s a mystery. In earlier discussions I could have grasped her opinion but had not listened to her.
    That realization caused me, in discussions, to explore the word definitions we are using. Sometimes, I’d rephrase the question. In my writing, her review is my greatest asset.I would not change anything about my wife--especially her afterdeath.
    But the Christian experience demanded action on my part.After so many years attending worship with her, I would not accept her sect. I withdrew from my inherited sect.
    I focused on classical literature: Plato, Chekhov, Shakespeare, Nozick, and many more. Next, I focused on American literature through the seventeenth century.After about ten years, I realized I am digging out of the indoctrination my parents shared and am discovering my preferences.
    Now, my belief is that humans should not hold beliefs but should stay open-minded to reality, most of which is unknown—in other words, hold faith in the truth most of which is unknown. To place faith elswhere probably involves rejecting the truth. I do not wish anyone to follow my path, because I could be wrong.
    I am so fortunate to have discovered my bride and trusted myself to choose her, despite my sect's prejudices. Moreover, I am fortunate she waited so long for me to listen to her.
    I trust and am committed to the Preamble to the US Constitution.
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      Sep 6 2011: Thank you, Phil. Could you explain what you mean by sect? I'm moved by your story, and the awarenesses you've shared here. I have the sense there are many who may relate to your experience....even if they look or sound different.
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        Sep 6 2011: Less than 5 minutes ago: Thank you for the question; perhaps I am reflecting the pain of de-indoctrination when I choose "sect." Regardless, I am referring to Christian denominations. If I had married within my denomination, I would never have discovered my preferences—myself.I am glad you value the story. There are many mixed marriages and many immature husbands, but few as fortunate as me. Regardless of my immaturity, my bride was as important to me as me, and after twenty-five years, defense of her religion after repeated attack by members of my denomination demanded a change by me. That's when the "me" became important. Within a couple years I had dropped out of church; about five more years, out of Christianity; perhaps another year out of religion. My policy is not to believe so as to wait for the truth.I often ask my wife if she prefers me or the indoctrinated me and she affirms me.I am reminded of Brian Wilson lyrics:I keep looking for a place to fitWhere I can speak my mind.I've been trying hard to find the peopleThat I won't leave behind.It’s the “behind” part that bothers me.When, in a denominational sense, someone asks me, “What are you?” I respond, “I am a human being and member of the community of humankind.” That is pleasing to me and sufficient. Being a small fish in a big pond is OK.However, I am also an American and past white Anglo-Saxon Christian male: a small fish now in the wrong pond. What I perceive is that the people in America have allowed regimes to drift away from the US Constitution. In searching for a fundamental explanation for what I perceive and may be true—US governance is unconstitutional—I have the idea that the people have failed to embrace the Preamble.Please see my current TED conversation on this topic.
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    Sep 2 2011: The most beautiful part of having a mind is that it can be updated with new info. This occurs because a mind can look at itself as well as looking out upon the world, apply analysis to both the inner and outer worlds. This is what makes us unique among bioforms, we can step outside not only our present interpretive framework, but also our instincts, peer pressure (herd reflex), fear response and other external stimuli. This unique ability may stem from the ability to abstract, to model reality inside the head, to plan ahead in time and prepare for eventualities, to project a more ideal outcome onto a future scenario. People with minds are really all idealists, ideals are what drive us to invent a solution to a problem, and, more important, to conceive of problem solving as a game.
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    Aug 31 2011: Oh yes, my life has been periodically punctuated by epiphanies of updated information that have changed my world view. One of the biggest was my introduction to the study of historic and archaeological catastrophism, formerly a taboo in the halls of academia but now part of mainstream as we have learned about the various catastrophic extinctions of the past. Richard Firestone has discovered compelling evidence that a near extinction event occurred as recently as ten thousand years ago, the Younger Dryas Event, a meteor impact that wiped out nearly all life in North America. The realization that we are in a cosmic shooting gallery was a game changer for me.

    This cosmic shooting gallery idea also led me to investigate other astronomy theories that need to be updated, among them the theory that planets form from accreted material left over from the primordial solar disk constituents. There are many problems with this model. A contending theory that needs more air time is that planets are ejected from the cores of their suns. What this means is that life in the Universe may be far rarer than Carl "Billions and billions of galaxies" Sagan and the rest of mainstream astronomy would want to entertain. Life may be exceedingly rare in the Universe, to the point, I'd speculate, that it may take an infinite Universe an infinite amount of time to create, not only life, but sentient life capable of contemplating it. What if we were in fact the only sentient, let alone living, beings in this Universe? What would that do to our sense of responsibility to ourselves and the planet?
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      Sep 1 2011: Wonderful Walter! Reading this made me feel more alive! Your words challenged assumptions I hold in my mind without questioning, and don't necessarily believe. They're placeholders for the moment newer questions arise...which may be right now. Thank you.
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    Aug 29 2011: Yes!

    everything we currently know should be open to question, the ability to rewire ourselves with new information is what keeps us going. Holding onto the past information is what slows down evolution (maybe nature made us like that for our own protection). I think the paradigm shifts start with one person who understands how to rewire and rethink knowledge and realise it was probably wrong. Searching in this area then we find greatness and new ideas and goals. I am sure this is how progress happens, but the poor person has to persuade others to look, really look and that's harder as there are more of us.

    This is where peer review and establishment can actually do 2 great things
    1: weed out irrational and unfounded ideas
    2: Provide solid incremental improvements in state of art.

    This is where peer review harms us and increasingly so by
    1: No allowing changes to the current info base that are radical (so many people trained in the old wring way)
    2: Ensuring only incremental change happens (no heads above a parapet either).

    So in life we do not accept we are wrong much, but worse still it's become an institutionalised matter now and has the backing of large organisations, maybe natures brake on progress for our sakes, or perhaps we are just wrong in trying to compartmentalise information and maybe the people already invested in training the old ways, simply want to stay as they are and not change.

    Bottom line, until we embrace being mistaken and embrace change then we will evolve slower.

    Great question.
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      Sep 2 2011: Yes, David. Seems to me embracing being wrong is a freeing and exciting venture! Imagine if it was how we approached our life and work, assuming we're wrong. In my experience, it allows us to monitor and pay attention instead of making the assumption we're right. We become more vigilant in our decision making, in my opinion; and more involved in the journey.
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    Aug 27 2011: I used to believe that a fat man in a red velvet costume who had a prominent white beard went around the world in a slay carried by magical reindeer delivering presents to every house in the world.
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    Aug 22 2011: Yes, that's why I try to replace believing with something waaaaay more interesting: testing.

    If it's testable I don't need to expose myself to the risk of assumptions.

    Assumptions don't survive reality. Testing does.
  • Aug 21 2011: I used to think mothers would always be there if you were in trouble or you needed to be looked after, they would always be near by.

    But as you get older, you realise more they are an individual and they have needs which they need to fufill and satisfy before you.
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      Aug 26 2011: Perfect example. When you get even older you understand that you don't have any right to judge their parent-ship or blame them for fulfilling their own needs.
  • Aug 18 2011: Once I believed that if a hammer didn't work, I should use a bigger hammer. Now, rather than having to be right, I prefer to be yesterday, playing golf, our opponents twice failed to observe a rule of the game and I, initially upset, objected. At the end of the round, rather than complain again, I apologised for having been a grumpy old man. Result, a congenial post match drink.
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    Aug 18 2011: Hi Linda - great question. I've actually been thinking about Kathryn Schulz talk lately and her analogy of Wile E Coyote and how he runs off the cliff and is fine until he realizes he's wrong and then he falls. I had a presentation a couple months ago that I was convinced would go well, but like Wile E Coyote, mid-way through looked down and wished I could fall off the screen. What I've learned about being wrong is that while it can be painful, it can also be a gift. In this instance it helped me question why it happened and how I could "fail forward" next time around. I read 3 books on presenting the complex in a more simple way and came to realize that where I went wrong was more in how I painted the picture vs. the concept itself. I'm sure I'll have many more falling sky moments and opportunities to feel the gift of "wrongology."
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    Aug 10 2011: I believe there are parts of the world that will not see a lasting peace in my lifetime, and I will be overjoyed to learn I was wrong.
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      Aug 11 2011: Who among us really believed the Ireland would find peace. There is hope! (and sometimes it is utterly great to be wrong!)
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    Aug 9 2011: I always wanted to be a frog as a child. I used to practice hopping around the house thinking when I would grow up, i would turn into a frog. But sadly...I didn't turn into a frog. I grew up though :) I was just thinking how crazy it is, growing up. As a child we believe in our innocence and the simplistic nature of our being....and then one day we sit there and reminisce about our past laughing at our gullible selves. I am still very young, but I feel that these moments are getting more frequent and I am just beginning to understand the world around me. Nevertheless, I would like to say most of the time I find I question everything, maybe it is the rebellious nature of being a teenager but I have learned something very important. As a child everything is right and wrong, now I am just beginning to see that there is more than right or wrong there is a very very large shade of gray! I apologize if this wasn't exactly the kind of answer you were looking for Linda, but I hope I have contributed to this epic question! I'm having a lot of fun reading other people's answers! haha!
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      Aug 9 2011: Are you kidding? A story about a little boy who dreamed of being a frog so much that he practiced hopping? And then grew up to discover he couldn't be one! And, a teenager who is living the realization right now - at this very moment - that there is gray! Bravo!
      You have most definitely contributed with epic answers. :D
      As I read, I could almost see and hear you hopping across the my mind, you were wearing green feet pajamas. ;)
      Keep on laughing at your self, whether gullible or mistaken or wrong or whatever. Laughing at myself is good medicine for me...and keeps us humble I think. But one thing I do know for sure -- I could be wrong about that. ;)
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    Aug 8 2011: Oh Linda! Over the course of my life, I have been wrong a lot. The good news is that it is mostly not a terminal condition unless you are not willing to change. Even when it is terminal- it is deadly only to your ego which often benefits from a little death. When I was younger and less 'educated' I was far more certain. Now, I hold things and ideas a lot more lightly.
    The only real regret I have about being wrong (mostly because knowing that I was wrong opened up the potential to learm more of what was 'right') is that I sometimes hurt people by being wrong.
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    Aug 8 2011: Beautiful example, Dany. Of course, our humanity and basic tribal nature is shaped by the world view we're shown -- until we develop our own. I love how you said, " Humans have a natural tendency to stereotype because quick judgment will enable you to escape a lion before wondering if it was just a fuzzy cuddly big cat, or in modern times, avoiding a rapist in a dark alley before wondering if he was just a friendly stranger." Wonderful! I hope you'll allow me to quote you.

    I feel stereotypes often contain some of our most toxic beliefs - and, simultaneously, are the most freeing, joyful and life affirming experiences when broken - particularly when accomplished by building trust in relationships. There are few things that excite me more than watching someone with a preconceived judgment release their stereotype, and trade it for a genuine connection to another human being. It's like watching magic happen, don't you think?
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    Sep 5 2011: Yes, it had to do with quantum (particle) physics. The reality that particles have a behavior was life changing for me. I thought that particles were just traveling in a straight line based on whatever they just bounced off of.
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    Sep 4 2011: Yes, Linda. That is what I mean to say.
  • Comment deleted

    • Sep 2 2011: I would be very interested in learning who the author was, if you would like to share? Thank you.
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    Sep 2 2011: And I believe I was wrong about your intended meaning of the word "wrong".
    You are disassociating the concept of wrong with the concept of truth. Thus only when I discover that something is not what I believed, or assumed, it was am I wrong. So long as I am unaware of the disparity between my belief and truth I am not wrong? Using that definition I think the question should not include the words "wrong" or "mistaken": For example: "Have you ever changed your mind regarding what you believed or assumed about something?"
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    Aug 31 2011: my biggest paradigm shift?

    Might probably my transition towards skepticism...

    before, I thought I could understand the world through intuition and a 'feeling'.
    It turned out to be terribly wrong... (went through a psychotic episode)

    Like Nash, I now understand intuition can be terribly misleading, and you should never have absolute trust in your gut feeling (though it does work great most of the times)...

    A skeptic questions his own beliefs all the time, and I think that is the only way one can take when one wants to reduce wrong ideas to the maximum. (It does not give always give you comfort though)

    - The book is the next one I'm going to read, though I predict it won't teach me a lot of new insights, I do hope to be wrong on that account -
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      Sep 1 2011: Experiences like yours are the most profound examples of when not to trust our 'feelings,' while not knowing we shouldn't. Thank you so much for sharing that Christophe. I love your example.

      While it is probably true a skeptic questions his own beliefs all the time, I'd add the simply curious might also do that- without being skeptical in nature. But I could be wrong.... leads me to a thought for the next conversation. ;)
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    Aug 30 2011: I find it very interesting that you asked this question. I wrote a short blog piece about this exact topic. In short, I am thankful to have gone through varying difficult situations in order to get to where I am now. Without EACH ONE of those difficult times, I would not be where I am now, mentally, spiritually, and physically. I, just like so many others, was hoodwinked into believing certain religious, political, and social doctrines as truth. But had I not gone through these difficult and blind-sided happenings, I would still be LOCKED behind the dirty & tight-fitting, cultural spectacles that clouded the understanding of what I was observing with my physical eyes. Interestingly though, my mind was always free to think and contemplate and organize, but I never seemed free to express it. Until now. It feels good to know that I am free to think and seek for myself!
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    Aug 29 2011: My Idea about reading
    For a long time I thought that reading happens by starting from the first word right the way to the last word. Consciously understanding everything. Critiquing and questioning every sentence. Now I understand our mind more capable than that. It is not what on the paper that matter but what is happening in our head. You don’t need to read every sentence to extract information from a written material. And learning happens on layers. You can’t be expert right the way. To make this sustainable I question my ideas beliefs every day. Discuss with people, find out what the experts say ,Critically question your thoughts e.t.c.
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      Sep 1 2011: Interesting Bemnet. I like the example of reading - in the sense that, even that does not need to be done in a linear way. Reading is simply the catalyst, or behavior, to receive information - and our mind does what it needs to with it, in its time. I like that.
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    Aug 29 2011: Last year, I came to know a man, and we like each other. He knew i was going to study abroad, but we tried our best to maintain the relationship between us. You know the relationship is kind of strange. Because we don't want to break the balance. We hope we can still be friends instead of a couple, as it is quite easy to lose each other during the time I was in another country. So, I almost persuade myself that there's true love in the world, and he is the right one, i can wait until see him again no matter how hard i am this year. But just two days ago, he upload a picture staying with another girl, and they are quite happy. I just don't know why I was deeply shocked and very sad, although I used to think it is normal and ok for him to love another one because he is quite good.

    The thing i cannot accept is that I used to believe in love and never suspect it, and think only if the two of us love each other, can we wait for each other no matter what happenned. But now, it seems i am wrong absoluty. What i have to believe is that something is changing totaly and true love can hardly be found......although i would not like to believe the fact.

    Thank you
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      Sep 2 2011: oh, Cindy. I'm so sorry you're experiencing this. It's clear you're very disappointed, as anyone would be in your shoes. Nobody can take away the disappointment you're feeling, but I can share what I've come to understand about this kind of love. I've had a number of wonderful relationships throughout my life, each of which I believed was true love, and each one ended for one reason or another - leaving me questioning the same thing you are now. I've come to understand, for me, that each love was true love. It's my idea of how love should look that was wrong. It is such a perfect example of thinking we know something, and perhaps being completely wrong!

      Over the years I've found the love lives on. The form it takes does not. Real love is bigger than any picture we hold in our mind. I hope your pain subsides quickly, and joy replaces it again.
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    Aug 28 2011: Does your use of the word "believed" mean to accept something as truth?
    Who has not realized that something they embraced as being true was, in fact, false?
    There are some epistemological definitions needed to weed-out the impossible things some people blindly embrace as truth. For example: What is Truth?
    Also, regarding the words "mistaken' and "wrong", is your intended meaning exemplified by the act of embracing as truth that which is false?
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      Aug 28 2011: Why are you making this question so complex ? Everybody understood it easily & shared their experiences.
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        Aug 28 2011: I apologize. It was not my intention to obfuscate the question.
        I do believe it is essential to define terms prior to answering a question.
        It is not clear to me precisely what the question means by, "discovered you were mistaken, or wrong?" For example, I once believed in Santa Claus. Was that a mistake, or wrong? If it was wrong of me to believe in St. Nick what made it wrong? Was it wrong because there is no proof that he exists? Or, was it wrong because there is proof that he does not exist?
        The question is complex, I did not make it so.
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          Sep 2 2011: I think I was wrong in believing I made the question clear. ;)

          Edward, your responses make me smile. Your mind can obviously take this in many directions. I think you should simply answer it in a way that works for you, or contributes to your thought process. Fyi, the word wrong was not intended to mean a moral judgement, but simply to imply things were different than we thought, or how we assumed, they were.
  • Aug 27 2011: cynical world, is the real truth...
  • Aug 27 2011: oh , that seem very little. In addition ,I have forgotten. I am so sorry!
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    Aug 27 2011: There's an awful lot of things I used to believe in wholeheartedly: life after death, the trustworthiness of adults, God, and perfect love to name a few. In most cases, these beliefs were disconfirmed by various counter-examples. In other cases, it slowly became apparent that I had no real basis for believing except my own desire for that thing to be true.

    The big lesson for me has been that *belief* is fundamentally an emotional reaction, not a rational one. We tend to cling to ideas which comfort us, and this emotional investment is what differentiates a false belief from a mere misconception. Once you identify your underlying emotional drives, it's a lot easier to avoid the pitfalls of false beliefs.
  • Aug 26 2011: May i ask you some questions?
  • Aug 23 2011: How about the periodic table? I got thrown out of class in 7th grade science for asking where all of the half atoms were that we had split starting in the 1940s. My position was that the table did not account for those half atoms and as a result must be flawed, or, that there were a lot more elements out there than the table reflected as a result of those half atoms floating around and connecting themselves to other elements. Literally was sent to the principles office because I felt I had a valid point and by this time knew the teacher didn't have the answer.

    Time went by and I got lucky several years later when I had an old physisist for a client that had worked on our original atom bomb. I told him the story and after he got a good laugh out of it he explained it to me. Took him all of 20 seconds to clear up 8 years of confusion. :-)
  • Aug 22 2011: I often think about religion...and how LUCKY I am that I am NOT religious anymore. Though for about 22 years I was a religious fella - I was convinced about eternal damnation and that religion was the only path to morality. But this not to say I did not have doubts. Since my teenage years I began to be very skeptical of the Bible, I knew it is a document that was WRITTEN and EDITED by men over hundreds of years. Biblical doubts aside, I still ascribed to the moral and spiritual aspects of Christianity for many years, but I eventually learned that nearly every major religion professed the same morals - give or take. God became less important, and treating my fellow human beings properly became paramount. Christianity became a side-note to spiritualism, and spiritualism then gave way to reason. Hell became laughable, and heaven became very dull. Claims of “omnipotence” and “God’s will” ceased to align with the world of starving children, subjugated women, and murdered innocence – religions became unimportant and altogether ridiculous in the light of historical and scientific knowledge, and reason. When I threw out the primitiveness that is embeded in religion I became rejuvenated by curiosity. A whole new world(s) opened up for appraisal.
  • Aug 22 2011: I just don't have the courage to believe any more,for if i want to believe,i need information,and information explodes nowadays,with various seemingly right theories.and i'm not capable of proving or disproving most of them within the boundary of my knowledge.
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    Aug 22 2011: Looking back my past time, I find many things are wrong or not appropriate. I think myself is too lazy. For example, I have learned English for 10 years, but just in exam, not fit to the communication. In the early time, I am reluctant to practice the oral English. The problem is so worse, and I can only read. Listening, writing and speaking are all too bad. I have a good friend who got a score 1450 in the GRE. I also want to have an good skill in utilizing English. So now, I spend much time in learning English, reading news in English, communicating with foreign friends and so on. I hope it will be improved in the following time.
    So I want to say if we can find the problem and try our best to resolve it is the best way.
  • Aug 21 2011: Partly due to my sheltered childhood, I used to believe the world was a utopian wonderland. As I matured I came to the gradual, sobering realization that the inverse is true. I realized that most of us spend our lives trying to make the world into that utopia every day.
  • Aug 20 2011: As my family and I were sitting in our back garden watching the chickens go about their 'chickenly ways', my partner noticed that the main trunk of a very small palm bush along the fence had been roughly broken in half. Running through my mind were the possible things that could have happened to cause this breakage, along with remembering what the newly created space looked like before the trunk was broken.

    The paradigm shift comes in when on closer inspection, we found that we weren't looking at a broken trunk, but simply the end of a broken rake handle leaning up against the palm in a way that suggested it was the palm itself. Talk about paradigm shift! Although visual in nature, this perceptual illusion sent my thinking down an incorrect path about how it got broken and even conjured a newly vacant space, that of course had been there all the time.

    The fun part of this is that my partner also confessed 'seeing' what it looked like before it was broken, even though it wasn't broken at all.

    It was such a powerful experience that I'm reminded to hold back on judgement.... not everything I see is as it seems.
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    Aug 18 2011: So many times....I have been humbled learning that I was wrong......and had to consider the consequences of my ignorence, resulting from forging ahead by gut instinct ....rather than research.......
  • Aug 17 2011: things change. maybe what you thought were true for some time, but then the universe turned to other side, and what you thought were true, stopped being true. nothing is fixed or forever. if what you think is true, you find is not true, maybe you could wait a while, and it becomes true. you and the universe change.
  • Aug 16 2011: Life will find the way!

    idea will find the way!

    metaphorical Transform Direct
    Direct Transform metaphorical

    Level up~
    Such as:There is no God?Evolution!? evolution+theistic = theistic evolution!

    Said to him:Judge not that ye be not judged
    Heart meditation: he devil the temptation! I firmly believe that! I firmly believe that! ....I~!!!

    @ 3@!
  • Aug 16 2011: Linda: No, you're not wrong; we by nomeans need to "see" things to believe in them. Who ever "saw" X-rays? Or a Magnetic Field. ? There is no reason to rule out apriori the concept of a Spiritual"Field", and the idea would clarify a lot of mysteries, and eliminate a lot of "pseudo-questions". It looks like it would fit in well with the current biological toying with the idea of a "Super-Organism". And finding "Hard evidence" for it is no more daunting than looking for "Dark Matter", or the Higgs Boson.
  • Aug 16 2011: The day I realized I needed to trust my instincts

    A boring story about the number of stamps needed on a parcel- I knew it was two but I was stopped from putting the second on. It was a defining moment allthough very small when the package came back to me and I missed a deadline.
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      Aug 16 2011: Intuition is such a powerful tool, Autumn! If only we'd all learn to listen more often!
      I recall doing a similar thing - waiting to the last minute to mail a package needing a postmark on that day.
      When I arrived at the post office, the mail clerk has closed the post office. I had misjudged closing time by one half hour, and missed a deadline on something I'd worked very hard on. Lesson Learned! I mark the deadline in my calendar as a day before the actual one now.

      Instinct and intuition are such quiet whispers, yet when we train ourselves to really hear them, are succinct and crystal clear voices within.
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    Aug 15 2011: Dear Linda,

    Thank you for posting this question. It’s a great reflective exercise.
    The answer? Where to begin? During my lifetime there have been many, many things I believed in or had a certain fixed idea about and then along the way was taught differently. Here are just two:

    Believed: That everything and everybody that comes to me is good.
    Learned: That life may offer me everything but that I have the power of choice. That it’s my choice to accept or refuse. I learned to see that not because something is legal that it is good for you (e.g. cigarettes, junk food etc.) or that not because there is a mutual ‘like’ that it means that person is good for you.

    Believed: (I was raised to believe) that religion was Life. That God was an angry white invisible man. That if I didn’t have a religion, if I didn’t believe in God/Jesus/the Bible, that life meant nothing. I was made to believe that all the punishment I got for what I was, did and thought was because of this angry God. I experienced this God to be extremely unjust in ‘his punishments’.
    Learned: Through an interesting journey visiting numerous services of many religions, reading a lot and having discussions with many people from all walks of life, I learned to be free of the burden of my belief. I became aware that in essence the religions were all relaying the same message (love and respect for one another) and that people make a mess of living it. And though I choose not to follow any of those religions I learned to respect other people of all religions for the comfort and strength it gives them, meanwhile relying on the strength within myself and knowing that there is more to life than what we see.

    The list is endless and I am glad to know I am still learning. Thank you for the nudge to put these and more of my experiences to paper.

    Warm regards,
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      Aug 16 2011: I've found those moments of recognizing I'm wrong - whether it be the result of ideology or ignorance, are energizing. There's something so vibrant in that moment...knowing I'm always in process, and always learning. Thanks for sharing yours Astra.
  • Aug 15 2011: Yes, I remember reading about the WW2 atom bombing in Japan (the day after), and subsequently the discussion about how this was going to solve the world's energy problems after the war. Finding out more about the whole process, especially that radioactive wastes would remain very toxic for longer than recorded history, and that no one could come up with a solution, led me to want to veto any nuclear fission plants at all, for the last 60 years. Then, only a few montllhs ago, I heard about lhe OTHER type of nuclear fission plant,a completely different system, which cannot blow up, melt down, or release unmanageable amounts of toxic waste: This is called the Thorium LFTR plant. (see Youtube: Thorium, Kirk Sorensen for some good videos about it. ) There are surprising and various other advantages to this system, including that they use existing nuclear plants toxic waste as FUEL, getting rid of it to a great extent, while producing energy much more efficiently. The big drawback is that LFTRs don't produce bomb making material, so during the Cold War, the program was abandoned (after running a demonstration plant for 5 years, successfully) I always considered myself moderately well informed, and an engineer too. so I was chagrined to find that I had never heard a whisper about all lthis for the last 60 years.
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    Aug 9 2011: Are you saying there are enough natural resources on the planet for everyone, and to achieve buy in and cooperation to accomplish this, it will require more natural resources in order to spread the message? Then it's important to demonstrate it in real life, on the ground, so the world will believe it? However, the people that really know how to get this done on the land/ground are often not the people who get the attention, or have the power? Brijesh, I'm not meaning to put any additional meaning or words to what you said. I'm trying to understand exactly what you're seeing and saying. It is interesting.
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    Aug 9 2011: The billionaire was on his bed, was suffering from a chronic disease and he was about to die.
    He called in his two sons and told.
    Boys, I have made enough money and monies worth and later I came to know that money is not that valuable than peace of mind.
    I want to give all my wealth to charity and you both will have peace of mind which is the most important thing in life....

    His elder son told him,

    Father, what you say is a universal truth and everyone knows that, but if you give all your wealth to me I will have a chance to feel what you are feeling now, the value of renunciation, I will get an idea of how much valuable is the peace that you experience.
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    Aug 9 2011: i used to believe that if you use the needed quantity of natural resources, everybody on the earth will get his/her share. And still I strongly believe in it, but to send this message across the community and spread it across the world, you need to differentiate. To differentiate, you may need to use more resources and lead the world. After reaching that level, you have to come back to ground when whole world is looking at you. People never follow the right people on the ground, but they will follow the people on top(no matter they are right or wrong).
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      Aug 9 2011: Are you saying there are enough natural resources on the planet for everyone, and to achieve buy in and cooperation to accomplish this, it will require more natural resources in order to spread the message? Then it's important to demonstrate it in real life, on the ground, so the world will believe it? However, the people that really know how to get this done on the land/ground are often not the people who get the attention, or have the power? Brijesh, I'm not meaning to put any additional meaning or words to what you said. I'm trying to understand exactly what you're seeing and saying. It is interesting, and I want to be sure I get your exact meaning.
  • Aug 8 2011: I think a lot of the time we dislike being wrong, whether it be in front of our family, friends or even ourselves. There's the odd occasion though, where I find myself being pleased about being mistaken. Last year I discovered I was wrong about my belief in a personal God. I have been liberated and learned that I can be a far better person, to those around me and the natural environment, without religion.
  • Aug 8 2011: Before my late highschool years I used to believe in about anything; ranging from alternative medicine to conspirational theories, from ESP and miracles to EVP and ghosts. As I learned about critical thinking and started questioning every belief, I saw my world shrink as I realized the diference between faith and certanty. This paradigm shift did not occure over night and to this day I still question everything. As far as I can tell the only thing I believe now a day is the idea that doubt is the path for the search of knowledge and that science can provide us withe the tools for this path.
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      Aug 8 2011: It fascinated me when you said you watched your world shrink when you discovered the difference between faith and certainty. It must have been an interesting journey for question so many things through a critical lens. It spurs me to ask what that was like for you. If you don't mind me asking, was it an empowering experience for you, as you learned new ways of seeing; or was it difficult to let go of ideas and beliefs you had invested yourself in?
      • Aug 8 2011: You are too kind Linda, by all means feel free to ask anything.
        In deed it has been an interesting experience for me. I developed a thirst for knowledge, and beyond pure knoledge for the path that may lead to knowledge.
        It has been both, very empowering and fullfiling as well as difficult as I try to let go of some of my most cherised beliefs.
        The beliefs I had most conflict with was probably the notion of god, the afterlife and a supreme justice. The very idea of questioning the existance of god seemed wrong, it took me 8 years to let go of this belief and when I finally submited to uncertanty I experience loneliness and sadness. For many years I had based my life in the belief of a god and now that belief was gone leaving me without a sense of purpose.
        It has taken me a lot of time to regain this sense of purpose though personal fulfilment and through discovering my place in society and our species. The idea of tracendance and legacy a work on progress for me given that I´m still defining the meaning of those ideas and their implications.
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          Aug 9 2011: Yes, I've found my spiritual quest to be a lifelong process too, Claudio. I, too, have felt that sadness when I could not use reason or science to confirm beliefs I held since a child. My experience has led me, over the years, to using different senses to find my path in this respect. This journey has brought me to a place that works for me. When I felt that sadness, it made me question if I was denying a part of me that went beyond logic, or if I was simply grieving a long held belief that was misguided. I think we all come to our own answers in time. Thank you so much for such an honest response, Claudio.