I have been in the middle of many conversations recently where people have been bashing one particular way of thinking. These have ranged from creationism and Darwinism to capitalism and socialism. Without a doubt I have been playing the devils advocate and it certainly makes me unpopular with some people who don’t understand why I’m not agreeing with their “logic.”
University educated students, particularly in western countries, really think they know it all – they are certainly on the right track to knowledge, but they are certainly suckers for popularism.
Many people that I respect as critical thinkers are constantly putting their proverbial feet into their collective mouths by mindlessly insulting whatever -ism seems to be unpopular with their peers or greater society.
This -ism bashing trend is certainly not new. It used to be cool to think that our flat world was the centre of the universe, that a monarch was omnipotent or that free-thinking women were devil worshipers.
We’ve gone back and forth from polar opposites throughout our entire existence. Liberalism and conservatism. Some of our ways of thinking are so similar and yet are bashed on their different defining nuances in complete ignorance. Buddhism, Hinduism and Judaism.
Statistically, it is incredibly improbable that any one of them would be completely correct. Individualism or collectivism? However, the reverse is actually very true as well. There is a very good chance that many of them will be right in many different ways. Industrialism and environmentalism.
So, what do all our favourite -ism’s have in common? They can’t all be completely right, but they can’t all be completely wrong.
Furthermore, what has history taught us? Ignorance may be bliss for a while, but no single way of thinking has lasted the time. Localism, nationalism or globalisation?
Maybe we’re just early into our evolutionary path; maybe that path was designed by an intelligent being; maybe we’ll make contact with other intelligent life forms; maybe there is more to the human psyche that we could ever conceive; maybe we can be united or maybe division and segregation is in our nature.
With our current knowledge of science, spirituality, humanity, politics, economics and the universe that we live in there is really only one option if you want save face and not be humiliated by ignorance or hypocrisy: Be humble, open-minded, practice constructive critic-ism, and most importantly, learn to bite your tongue.