Activism · My humble opinions · Veganism 101

The one on tradition

If enough people repeat a lie enough times, then the lie becomes part of the culture. When the lie is transmitted through the generations, it becomes tradition.

Traditions are the third reason why a person does not commit to veganism. They are not innate, nor natural, but we learn them from our family and our society. Many of them are not harmful (at least not directly), like policemen’s uniforms, gift exchange on Christmas, or folk art, while others perpetuate archaic immoral behaviours, such as early marriage or female genital mutilations. Being part of a tradition or a culture is often used to justify these transgressions, but it doesn’t make them any less harmful for the victims. Fortunately, our society condemns the examples I gave.

But we still need to open our eyes on many others. Bullfighting, foie gras on Christmas, dog meat festivals in parts of Asia, European hunting traditions, wearing fur … All traditions involving someone’s pain that we were taught to ignore. As children, our instinct was to protect animals and play with them, but our feelings of love towards them were suppressed in favor of capitalism. Not that all children’s acts based on instincts are necessarily good ideas.

This is why I strongly suggest questioning the origins of what we know as true, our habits and traditions, especially if they are destructive. I recently wrote an article on reality* suggesting three sources : our tendency to conform to the group, our research of a social consensus, and the projection of our desires and our perceptions of reality on reality itself.

Reflecting on culture and traditions shapes our critical thinking, open-mindedness, empathy, and is an important step for the evolution of Humanity.

You can click on “Continue reading” if you are interested in my short response to tradition being used as an excuse, and why it is irrelevant.

Continue reading “The one on tradition”

My humble opinions · Pure information · Self-development

The one on reality

This is the short version of the article. If you have time for the longer version, click here. I would like to address a few sociological concerns of mine regarding the pursuit of reality. I believe that since the ideas in our head control our whole lives, it is important to question where they originate.

They can come from us conforming to the group in fear of standing out, or simply because we don’t have the time and the means necessary to verify each information ourselves. We must then often rely on more qualified authorities to do so (officials, scientists, journalists …). Also, the more ambiguous a situation is, the more people are likely to go against what they already know. This influence is exploited by information sources and may result in people losing their self-awareness.

conformity

Furthermore, the majority of people agree on a consensus reality that is heavily spread through mainstream and social media. However, the centralization and the censorship of these prevent them from being reliable sources of information. That there is general agreement upon something does not make it true.

Finally, another issue arises when people project their desires on to reality, or their perceptions of reality. A false belief has the power to shape our behaviour in a way that that belief becomes true in the end. A typical everyday example is when a teacher has low expectations for a student and transmits his perception to the student, so that the student performs worse than s.he otherwise would.

If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.

What I wished to bring out in this article were the dangers of consensus reality and of confusing the perception of reality with reality itself. Relying on authorities is inevitable, but we mustn’t lose our self-awareness. It is important not to act upon inconsistent thoughts or beliefs, and to be skeptical when using mainstream and social media. Not to confuse skepticism and denial.

Clicking on “Continue reading” will open the original full version of the article, with a longer introduction and more illustrated information, and the references that helped me to write it.

Continue reading “The one on reality”