Commentary

Keep what’s inside your head to yourself!

January 19, 2022   ·   0 Comments

MARK PAVILONS

“Everything we do is for the purpose of altering consciousness. We form friendships so that we can feel certain emotions, like love, and avoid others, like loneliness. We eat specific foods to enjoy their fleeting presence on our tongues. We read for the pleasure of thinking another person’s thoughts.”
– Sam Harris

Sam presents an interesting observation about the most complex thing on earth – the human mind.
My apologies to all those studying any of the cognitive sciences or “ologies.” But I believe what sits inside each of our dusty skulls should be left alone.
Do you really want to know what’s going on inside someone else’s head? Would you like to read your spouse’s mind? Do you really want to know what your kids think of you?
Nope.
It’s been said that some things are better left unsaid. Okay, we can’t always control our thoughts but we have time in the nano-second between thought and speech. In other words, we should mind our tongues.
I’ve bitten mine so many times over the past year, it’s likely lost many of its taste buds.
I came across a great quote recently that says silence is not a sign of acceptance, but rather a feeling of speechlessness in response to utter stupidity.
Ain’t it the truth?
The last year has taught us all a great deal about our fellow men and women. Seemingly normal, rational people have become opinionated, uber passionate and vocal about this or that. In response to trauma, we’ve become over the top in our opinions and much more critical of others.
All the more reasons to keep such things to ourselves.
Technology will soon provide us with the means to “connect” mentally and optically with gaming systems, computer software and heaven forbid, other people’s thoughts.
I dread the day this happens.
While some of us are fascinated by psychology and sociology, I wonder just how useful this stuff is. Those in the know use this data to try to figure out how people act and react. While this may come in handy in marketing campaigns and spy novels, I don’t see how it’s useful in everyday living.
Maybe it’s me. As someone who leans toward a good joke or laugh, I’m always tempted to say something odd, silly or eyebrow-raising. Most of the time, I’m looking for a reaction, and I find doing the unexpected is a gas. I often toss out some weird gems to my son just to rattle his cage!
If I were to say half of the stuff floating around my brain, I’d be in jail, or at least exiled to a desert island.
And it’s not easy being me, in this age of seriousness, doom and gloom and political correctness.
Hog-tying our actions, speech and thoughts can’t end well, in my opinion. Human interaction thrives on debate, discussion and an exchange of thoughts, ideas, beliefs and opinions. We have to respect them all, regardless of how they appear or may offend.
I recently read a couple of articles from young Muslim women who presented arguments both for and against the hijab. It was quite eye-opening and provided two, distinct thoughts on the issue. As a white westerner, I knew nothing about it, and now my opinion is much fuller.
I learned something new.
And that’s the key for us humans – we need to learn and become informed before we spout off.
I’ve read literally mountains of reports on COVID during the pandemic and I see both sides of the vaccination fence. I understand the science and the facts, but as a journalist, I also fear any attempt at curbing rights and freedoms. Free speech is fundamental in our society. We must defend it to the very end.
Why? Because it’s only through free speech that we become stronger, more knowledgeable, better human beings. Famous orators in our history are prime examples. If you’ve ever listened to speeches by JFK or Martin Luther King Jr. you will see the power of words. It’s moving.
In my opinion, the spoken and printed word remain paramount. Many speculate that print – newspapers, magazines and journals – are on their way out. Sure, digital and online publications are growing exponentially on virtually every subject matter known to man. But is it better quality? Is it more factual? Is it true?
I think a physical copy of a publication bears the weight of those same democratic fundamentals – freedom of the press and freedom of speech. Those in the print game value and uphold these things.
Maybe the day will come when news of the day is beamed directly to our headsets, eye glasses or cranial implants. I hope our gizmos of the future come with very efficient filters!
But back to basics. How will this information overload impact our social interactions? Sure, we may have much more information at our fingertips, but will we become more compassionate, more loving human beings? Will we care more?
I don’t want to know what’s going on in someone else’s head and I doubt they want to peak into mine. Be careful how we tread here.
Within each of us is a Pandora’s Box of thoughts, desires and emotions. Along with the funny ones, you’ll find dread, despair, hopelessness and sadness. You will find grief and profound loss. You will find hate and vengeance.
I have enough of those and I don’t need any more.
Instead of delving into the human psyche, maybe we should concentrate our efforts on rekindling hope, friendship, camaraderie and good will.
That I can handle.
What about you?



         

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