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*When I use the word conscious I am referring to what most scientist would term self-aware, I just prefer the word 'conscious.'
Are people inherently good? If given the opportunity do you believe that people will “do the right thing?” I’ve gone back and forth on that my entire life and, for a number of years now, I have kind of settled with the faithful idea of “I would like to believe that they are.”
It’s a complicated question. Tom Shadyac is an American director, he’s responsible for Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, Liar Liar, Bruce Almighty, and so on he is also responsible for the documentary I AM, which is one of the most incredible documentaries that I’ve ever seen. Shadyac’s idea was to approach various political, scientific, and spiritual leaders and to ask them “What’s wrong with the world?” All of them approached difficult topics and issues that most of us are facing, but they all also, independently, addressed what was right with the world as well, and the relationship that we all have with one another which is deeply rooted in compassion. The vast majority of us have a hard time seeing anything (man or creature) going through pain, of all sorts. It’s easy for me to believe that we have a collective tenderness for empathy, however empathy, as it falls in the assorted account of human behaviors, is kind of a desperate remedy, which is to say that there are a lot of emotional gray areas between compassion and coming to the desperate need of the helpless or desolate.
Why are we so obtuse to a persons needs until we physically witness their desperation? We are inherently compassionate but only if and when their need grows greater than our ability to reason our own inherent selfishness.
As far as I can tell, it’s the little things, the seemingly mundane, professedly unimportant tasks throughout our day-to-day lives, and our own behavioral reactions to those daily menial activities that actuate our inherent goodness.
And, as far as I can tell, most people are inherently indifferent.
Whether we are influenced to be good is inspired by our nature vs. our nurturing is irrelevant, again as far as I can tell, it’s just as true that we are matured by both as it is neither, because the only thing that differs between people who seem to be inherently good as apposed to, what?, inherently bad, I guess, is whether you live consciously or not. Most people seem to live their lives on a day-to-day basis in some kind of default setting, it’s just: go; and these people rarely actually stop to make conscious choices. They simply just do. They are as aware of their behaviors as they are anything else, which really isn’t much of anything except what they have to do.
How does one get to that point? Or, I suppose, the more apt question considering there are far more people living on default than there are living consciously is how does one come to live consciously?
I cannot remember a time in my life when I wasn’t as concerned with the people around me, in any intellectual or emotional capacity, as I have been with myself, although I do know that I have not always thought the way that I do now. I do distinctly remember a time, in the mid to late 90’s, late elementary and early middle school years, when I transitioned, I started wanting to be conscious about the way that I perceived the world, at one point it became a conscious decision.
But what changed?
How did my brain or, the spiritual sense of being within me wake up?
I don’t believe that people are born conscious or unconscious. I believe that people are born a blank slate, however I do think that we learn to choose how to organize the information that we receive: faces, colors, sounds, etc., that influence how we are going to organize the new sets of information, and so on and so forth. We choose, at some point, to decide how we want to process information instead of simply retaining new information.
I’m starting to believe that to choose how we want to perceive the world, instead of just perceiving it the way that the biased information that is feed to us is, say, the missing link between inherent goodness and our default setting.
Maybe that key to unlocking our conscious purview is in recognizing that we do have a choice. We do well, what we are taught to, and we tend to ignore the truths of what are never actually taught. I wonder what we might accomplish if we began to explore the possibilities of teaching ourselves that knowing something and believing something are two very different things, and that being self-aware grants us the purview to not only acknowledge that but to apply it.
People are not inherently good, and we are not inherently bad. But we do inherently have a choice about how we perceive our world, and I believe that conscious choice, regardless of where it leads you, will allow us to acknowledge and accept our differences, regardless of what they might be.