Arriving here on this plane, one is immediately influenced by external "stuff" to the extent I have to wonder if it is even remotely possible to live an authentic life here on Earth. What is meant by "authentic" in this instance? I suppose it means the ability to move about and avoid the influences of the world around you when making choices about your own path. "Avoid the influences" in this case meaning being truly able to discern what lies before you without any undue influence from any entity that may seek to misdirect for whatever reason. Notice I did not say person or any such.
It really is no wonder that so many of us claim to be seeking "truth" as we pass through this experience. This, I think, is due to the fact that so much of what we experience is deception or is simply mis-interpreted by our own internal sensors due to an internal need to arrive at a predetermined outcome. Add in the complications brought forth by the ego (which has it's own agenda as far as I am concerned) and it really begs the question - what is real? What is truth? Do we stand ANY chance at all of hacking our way through this barrage of inputs to arrive at anything that is close to genuine?
I don't know why it should be thus, unless this is all a test of some sort. When I see the obvious efforts to steer opinion and emotion, the next question becomes "who is steering and to what end?". Some of it is obvious, while other examples are far less so. "4 out of 5 Doctors recommend" is obvious, but so many of the efforts to steer us come in far subtler forms, and it is often impossible to tell if there is an agenda or not, or if there is any truth at hand. Makes it tough to navigate this place.
Did the ancients have to put up with ceaseless propaganda? What was the extent of the ability of one person to influence the next in a manner that was not overt or deceptive 2,000 years ago? I know that we like to see ourselves as being on a trajectory of upward development, but also fear that we are far more susceptible to being completely left in the dark when it comes to REALLY knowing what is going on around us. I don't know if we are improving. Appearances tell me otherwise.
I am grateful for many things in my life, but one thing that I have only recently come to see as a blessing is the fact that my mother (who raised me and my brother alone without a partner) had little time to instill in us anything that could resemble dogma. My brother and I were "free range" kids, and were left to our own devices to find out what this whole deal was all about. I did learn one invaluable lesson from her, however, and that was that no matter what happens, making sure those around you knew without a shadow of a doubt that they were loved is job #1. Thanks you, Momma, for sparing us the yoke of an imposed worldview or value system.
Modern man has at his disposal the means of taking in or disseminating thoughts, discoveries, events or outright lies and deceit in a fraction of a second - world-wide. We see ourselves as having been gifted the ability to seek out and claim truths and debunk myths in a few keystrokes, yet we appear to be more divided and at odds with each other than ever before. This, too, could be all an illusion, but from where I sit the growing divide seems quite real. Take any stance and adopt any concept as "fact", and then feel free to find another set of "facts" that completely contradict the previous view. You will not have to look that hard or for very long. I spent a couple hours yesterday watching videos that claimed to prove that the earth was actually flat, and that we have been lied to all along about the very shape of the Earth we live upon. I will say that some of the efforts were well done, but I did not emerge with a radical new view on the matter.
It was fun watching the protest lodged by my internal troublemaker as I viewed this material. It was palpable how hard the ego fought against such a foolish, insane notion.
"Everyone knows the earth is round!!!" was the cry, and yet I continued watching for some time. Hey, I always thought we lived on a sphere, but if I am honest with myself, I have no proof that this is true, so the proper mindset as far as I am concerned is to be open to being proved wrong. Clinging to beliefs or closely-held attitudes about life and how it should be lived is largely what has gotten us to the point where it looks more and more like this whole thing is some sort of absurd joke at times. Why is it so hard to admit that we may have been wrong about something? That we didn't really learn anything for ourselves, but rather someone handed us our opinions and since they fit so well with other preconceptions they were taken as truths? It appears the risk of being seen as outside the norm is enough to shut down the internal part that screams out for a possible alternative truth. Man, this ego guy is really a piece of work!
Taken as an exercise in growth and development of a soul, this thing we call Life makes the most sense as an experience that will take us on a constant trip of ups and downs, so that we may become able to determine what is truly important and act accordingly. Where it gets tricky is having to realize that choices made by one individual on their own path can greatly influence the inputs available to make choices by others. What I mean by this is that we do not exist in a vacuum as we go along, so our individual experience is inextricably linked to all of the rest of the humans we are going through this with, sometimes on subtle levels, at others the result is dramatic or fatal.
We often attempt to use history to model the potential futures we may face, but that becomes problematic too for many reasons. What is history but recorded interpretations of past events, many times with no ability to further test the results? We can observe trends and recurring happenings and then assign these outcomes as merely the result of Human Nature, but there is danger there also. "Humans have always been at war with each other; it is simply our nature" seems accepted. I cannot accept that, however. These days I see a concerted effort to present the potential future we have as nothing more that a continued downward spiral, ending in catastrophe, all due to the machinations of (insert perp of your choice here), but maybe that is because of the fact that so many things we have been led to believe were true are being shown to be otherwise. Kinda messes with a person's mind if they are not prepared to bend with the winds and be proven wrong.
How much of what we do here is shaped by external influence, even without our being aware of it? I am currently struggling to understand a behavior that my younger child is exhibiting, and have to wonder if this is something that is shaped solely by her current surroundings or not. This beautiful child has decided that she is not a she, but is actually a he. This has manifested in many ways, including binding her breasts and talking about the day when she can have them removed from her body. She also engages in a form of self-mutilation (cutting) as a means of, so I am told, dealing with stress. I am at a loss to understand either of these happenings from any angle, but am being asked to accept and honor the choices made. More and more in my society I see pressure to "accept" any and all behavior and attitude, and more importantly, to understand it and honor it. I simply cannot. I am incapable of "understanding" this. Where do these behaviors come from? Are they spontaneous or learned? I have little clue in this matter. All I can do is continue to love this child endlessly and try and be aware enough of what is going so if need be, I can intervene should things get further out of hand.
So many things have transpired since I last shared my thoughts that in some ways my whole worldview has changed. What is happening in the mainstream is absolutely toxic to my senses - I no longer see any of it as real. It is such a farce that I am even beginning to sense that we are being driven mad on a grand scale so as to prepare us for something quite different in the future. My only question is whether the change is organic and authentic due to a need to simply evolve (please?) or is it more a result of a collective inability to see beyond the deceptions so we can make the right choices as individuals and by extension, a species. I really do not know what is real anymore, and in some ways have decided to simply reject any and all external input so as to avoid further madness. Maybe that is the point. Maybe we come here to get fully enmeshed in this whole life experience thing, only to have everything we adopt be torn down so we are forced to retreat to a much simpler, mundane position. "I AM" is the starting and now ending point. Anything beyond that is simply speculation.