Penciled-In Thoughts On Paper Minds


One of the most fascinating things about the human mind is that in an important respect it is like paper, especially in the beginning. Like paper, others can write on it (only in pencil), and like paper, the human can decide whether to believe what is written on it or whether to erase it. Most of the writing, however, is never erased.

Humans can be led to believe almost anything. This is especially true if the culture they are born into present certain ideas and notions as true or if they hear something often enough and if the stupidity/ignorance is presented in an organized fashion.

For example: Humans used to believe that diseases were caused by the “gods” because someone wrote that on their minds. Many humans used to (some still do) believe that women were intellectually inferior to men because someone wrote that on their minds. Currently, there are also humans who believe that if the young boys in their village swallow the ejaculate of the older males, their passage into manhood is assured [the Sambians]. They believe that because someone wrote that on their minds. Furthermore, some humans believe Blacks are intellectually inferior vis à vis Whites, and other humans believe that if a woman is raped, her family should kill her because shame is brought on the family. In short, humans will believe almost anything written on their minds and the list of examples (from the bizarre to the sublime) is endless.

Obviously, the more people who believe what is written on their minds, the easier it is to get younger people to accept what is written without fear of the beliefs being erased. Thus, the list of hypothetical beliefs noted below is no more shocking than what was once or is still believed:

• In order to avoid burning in hell after dying, the number 23 must be branded on a child’s forehead if the child is younger than eight (unless the child is a twin, then she should be branded only if she is older than eight).

• Having sex standing up is protection against contracting an STD.

• Spanking a groom and bride on their bare buttocks with a paddle made of pine wood during the marriage ceremony will guarantee a long and happy marriage.

• Running around the outside of the place of worship three times while naked, in the dark, will ensure forgiveness of the sin of fornication.

• Eating snakes is a sin. Eating squirrels once a year is a requirement for redemption.

• Drinking horse urine reduces fevers. Adding a cup full of dog urine to your bath water brings good luck.

• If a woman gets pregnant after eating the root of a certain plant, she has been unfaithful.

• People with gray eyes are more intelligent that those whose eyes are blue or green, and there is no such thing as brown eyes.

• A long tongue portends a long but unhappy life.

The list of hypothetical beliefs as represented above can extend ad infinitum, and for each one, there is a comparably asinine or ridiculous one that was once believed or is still believed. Humans can believe almost anything because they seldom challenge or even question what is written on their minds by their families and the other parts of society. The idea of erasing a belief is as foreign to many as is the idea of cutting off one of their feet. No ideas or beliefs are written in stone; most people simply do not want to erase the penciled in thoughts of their paper minds. If only they lived and breathed the following advice then the stupid would not be so stupid and the wise would be wiser:

“There is no idea or belief I so dearly cherish so as to shield it from rigorous scrutiny or thoughtful challenge. There is no idea or belief I esteem so highly that I will not alter it or abandon it – sacrifice it in favor of standing even closer to the truth.”

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Published in: on January 5, 2016 at 5:33 AM  Comments (1)  
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