It’s a trip how much mental energy people pour into arguments about world affairs while devoting almost none to the way their understanding and perception of those affairs is happening.
People will happily argue day in and day out about what political ideology is most correct or what should be done about a given problem, but it’s rare for them to turn around and examine the sources of information that they’ve used to form those opinions. The fact that most of the information being circulated about what’s going on in the world is owned by plutocrats who undeniably have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo rarely enters into mainstream awareness. Which is of course by design.
Even less common than people questioning the nature of the information they’ve received is for them to examine what happens to that information once it gets into their heads. Nearly everyone lives a life that is dominated by nonstop compulsive mental chatter which determines everything from one’s emotional state to how their interest and attention moves, thereby creating cognitive biases and perceptual filters which shape how all future information will be interpreted. For most of us, thought serves not as the useful tool we evolved it to be, but as the writer, director and star of the entire show. As Ecknath Easwaran once said, “we don’t think our thoughts, our thoughts think us.”
Rarer even than examining the nature of thought is examining the nature of consciousness itself. From cradle to grave none of us ever experience a single thing that is outside our own field of consciousness, but almost everyone goes that whole time without ever seriously looking into the nature of that field for themselves. Which is a shame, because a bit of rigorous investigation reveals that our entire conscious experience is happening in a very different way than the consensus worldview assumes.
Most of us labor under the assumption that we are a finite, physical body moving around in world from which we are separate, and against which we must protect and secure ourselves. Some dedicated self inquiry reveals that it’s far more accurate to say that what you are is not a body or a mind or a separate “me” at all,