Eroding judgements

…the fundamentalist mind, running in a single rut for fifty years, is now quite unable to comprehend dissent from its basic superstitions, or to grant any common honesty, or even any decency, to those who reject them.
HL Mencken

Neurons that fire together, wire together was a line I remember from the movie I saw recently.

In other words, you become good at thinking what you think. You become good at doing what you do.

The first time you think something, it is as if you roll a wheel across level ground.

The twentith time you think it, it has gotten easier. As if a rut has been worn into the ground of perception guiding the wheel on its way.

If we care about truth, then we naturally want to percieve reality accurately. Because accurate perception is true perception. Thus the Buddhists tell us that we cannot see a thing clearly unless we are indifferent to the thing we see.

So, what happens then when we take up a cause or adopt a belief?

Before we took the cause or belief up, we were indifferent to it. And at the moment we took it up, our previous indifference allowed still us to see it clearly and accurately – and thus to make a good judgement about it.

But later, having embraced it, we become deeply engaged with it.

Now it begins to be central to us and the more we work with it, the more important it seems.

What  once seemed perhaps a bit difficult to grasp has been revealed and we see it all so easily now.

An example:

If we think the thoughts of an environmentalist, we then fire the neurons of environmentalist thought over and over again.

And as we fire them, we wire them together.

And what was before, for us, a level field of perception about environmentalism now begins to acquire the ruts of long use; the growing ease of habit. And thus, inevitably, our current thoughts become, more and more,  guided by the ruts of the environmentalist thoughts that went before and less and less based on clear, unbiased and accurate perceptions.

So where once, from the clarity of indifference, we saw a significant pattern called environmentalism and decided to engage it, now from the habit of long practice and interaction (the repetative firing and wiring), we now can’t help but see the pattern everywhere. And the more we see it, the more significant it seems to be to us and the more we feel called to engage it.

Where then lies truth when our very neurons can betray us like this?

One Response to “Eroding judgements”

  1. L.A. Heberlein says:

    To make it worse, we surround ourselves with others who share our conclusions, finding it pleasant when they mirror our thinking back to us. We seek out sources of information that confirm what we already know.