Tuesday, April 22, 2008

What the Fundamentalist Fears

What the Fundamentalist Fears by Matthew Webb

There are many today who consider any criticism of society, religion or government to be “negative”, regardless of what these institutions do, or have become. Many want to “believe” in an effort to provide some external stability to their own inner uncertainty. So convinced are they about the sanctity of common beliefs, that rational discussion about society is made nearly impossible. In such a state, an individual’s mental processes have become so illogical that facts no longer matter. This is a measure of extreme self defense. It is very difficult therefore, for such minds to conceive of the idea that the world is not as it has been presented to them. For this reason alone do they see any call for change as “negative”, even while criticisms are obviously well deserved. Logic, fact, clear reasoning, debate and careful observation are not of interest to, “those who keep the faith” be that faith religious, social or political.

The criticism of government, social and religious ills is by no means negative, so long as it is based upon fact. Fact is neither positive or negative…it simply IS. In other words, that which is based on fact is simply true, making the question of who likes the truth or not, completely irrelevant. When a legislative body becomes corrupted by greed, (such as the current U.S. government) it merits rightful criticism, for it no longer represents the people. When society is no longer sustainable or humane, (as is the case with our current consumeristic marketplace) then it deserves to be called a destroyer, and consciously changed at its foundation. When religion becomes the spiritually hollow repetition of phrases and methods, and a political power base devoid of the original INTENT of its founder, (as we see everywhere today) it then merits being denounced. The facts which support such conclusions are everywhere for us to see, and it doesn’t matter in the slightest what we feel about them. They ARE.

For many people in the modern world, there is no practical difference between what they want to believe, and what really is. This social attitude is very common. It assumes that facts are far less relevant than the emotional needs of any individual. In essence then, the “my feelings first” philosophy is selfishness by another name. For selfishness at its root, is nothing more than the, “me first above all else” mindset, one that does not concern itself with a careful analysis of real world events. It cares only for what has been taught to be comfortable or unquestionable. This curious state of mind is common in the extremes of fundamentalism and patriotism. In both cases, the individual or organization so conditioned, is bent upon one simple goal…and that is keeping things as they are. It is readily apparent that those who call rightful criticism of government, “unpatriotic”, are also those who will very rarely engage in serious debate, or rationally discuss facts. These are considered too challenging to cherished beliefs, and rational debate is therefore something that cannot be afforded. The same is true of the materialist or the moralist, who considers established social doctrine far more important than the real improvement of the human condition. This is also why all the great Teachers and spiritual Masters throughout the ages were very often considered heretics and rebels, due to their insistence on the truth, regardless of prevailing social views.

The mindset that wants to keep things as they are is born of fear. Change is feared as it implies old ways were not as good as others claimed, or else there would be no need of it. Since modern society is anything but perfect, it is certainly not difficult to see where it could be changed for the better. Never the less, the vast majority still feel they must somehow defend the social norms of our day, regardless of the statistics of greater stress, mental illness, international discord and emotional instability that is seen clearly permeating every facet of daily life. But TV distractions, alcohol, cigarettes and prozac aside, these problems are not going to magically disappear if we ignore them long enough. The only way they can be solved both individually and internationally, is if people gain the willingness to face the often unpleasant truth, and actually get stronger because of it.

The main motive of those who wish to maintain government or religion in their current forms, (no matter how destructive these become) is that of preserving self image. So invested are they in the status quo, that “patriots” and “moralists” have actually projected their whole idea of self onto these institutions. One might even go so far as to say that they ARE these institutions, on the level of personal ego. Thus, any criticism of the government, society or religion to which the fundamentalist is wholly identified, is viewed as A DEEP PERSONAL THREAT that must be removed one way or another. Usually if a challenging view cannot be logically discredited, then there will always be those who try to discredit the speaker of change. If this cannot be done then the whole issue posed, (such as impending war with Iraq) will go ignored altogether.. An immediately defensive posture is assumed by the fundamentalist around those who ask pertinent questions A mind of this type imagines that by following established social rules and laws to the letter, and by intensely investing their outward lives in what is most accepted, that they have secured for themselves a place of social honor and acceptance. [To question the society of which the obedient citizen is a part, is to them a questioning of the soundness of their judgment] But honor is not found in acceptance, any more than greed is justified simply because the majority believe it to be a desirable trait.. Honor is found in upholding the truth regardless of what anyone else believes. This is a major lesson that the spiritual practitioner invariably learns along their path, sooner or later.

The fundamentalist patriot, materialist or moralist will take extra care to lash out at those who seek change or improvement of any kind. They will brand those who ask questions or pose alternative ways as, “dangerous to society”, and as “traitors” to righteousness or government. But the real fact of the matter is, change can always be for the better, especially when it is based upon the honest truth. Truth is only dangerous to those who fear change, (and have something to lose from it) not to the welfare of humanity.

What the pseudo-patriot or moralist does not understand, is that truth does not bend for the sake of personal preference, regardless of how cherished given beliefs might be. The truth is composed of facts, and the facts can be ascertained. When facts are known it is then that the inquiring and rational mind devotes itself to honest debate, and the testing of conclusions based upon fact. In this sense, honesty lends itself to the scientific method, which methodically investigates any question to get at its bottom line.

The honest mind is not interested in what the majority believes, because they are well aware that modern humanity has a tendency to believe what it wants, rather than what the facts loudly portray. Thus we have such phrases as, “my truth and your truth” or, “truth is something that has different, [subjective] interpretations”. Such thinking is not the basis for reality however, no matter how comforting it can be to those who do not wish to recognize the facts at hand. When a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, it STILL MAKES A SOUND. Truth does not need our permission to function, it never has, and it never will.

All things of merit are based on truth. All things of de-merit are based on lies and are unnecessarily destructive. By its very nature, falsehood destroys real progress and human evolution. When we consider the universality behind the words of spiritual Masters, the message found in Nature, or such documents as the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights, we find a common thread of truth which is exactly what makes them valuable to us all. We cannot afford to deny this universality of truth, which is for the benefit of all beings. By the same token we cannot deny the world destroying effects of embracing a false society, religion or government in our daily lives. Wisdom tells us that is just as important to realize what NOT TO DO, as it is to discover right action. Television content in the modern world for instance, requires serious and focused discernment. Since most of it is decidedly false, non-sensical and unproductive, it is important to discern what not to engage the mind in. The same may be said of various magazines, news stories, advertisements and not-so-subtle propaganda.

As true patriots, spiritualists and revolutionaries, it is necessary to question everything that is presented in the daily world as to its truthfulness, and proceed to live accordingly. THIS is the meaning of righteousness and patriotic duty. Our duty therefore, is not in the keeping things as they are, nor as they are said to be, but to see things in their truthful light without bending to personal or social whims. Our objectivity toward the honest truth is what will make us great. Our subjectivity toward reality, and the desire to fabricate whatever we wish out of truth, shall destroy us all. Belief in falsehood is madness. Whether or not such madness is a collective condition is irrelevant, since the fact of more people believing or desiring something, does not make that thing truthful.

Facts are the basis of reality, not sales imagery such as what we see on television ads. It is the truly evolved human who recognizes this, and who disciplines their mind to accept only truth, regardless of how initially painful this may prove to be. This is the prerogative of the Master, the Seer and the Revolutionary. Only They are qualified to lead humanity out of its current darkness of embracing the false, into the light of careful reasoning and honest evaluation.

Upon truth alone can we survive and excel as a species, on this evolving planet.

Matthew Webb at World Mind Society


Christopher Loring Knowles said...

This is brilliant- thanks for the heads up.

Michael Skaggs said...

Yes indeed, terrific piece, thank you!

dedroidify said...

Needless to say I loved it too :) Glad to share.