Wednesday, December 21, 2016

One Hundred and Five

There are things everyone knows without having to be told. These are the things we call common knowledge or common sense.

We see that everything which has a beginning has an end. Knowing our own existence had a beginning, we conclude that it, too, will one day end.

There are things not everyone knows, but learns when s/he becomes a member of a community. 

Most communities consist of individuals who all share a common ancestor or way of life. Human communities are unique in that they can also consist of individuals who all share the same beliefs, or say they do. 

Most human communities, or at least their founders, have claimed that humans do not die as other animals do. They, or their essence, is immortal; or will be, if they join the community and obey its leader.

This defies common sense, and most people do not believe it, despite what they say. What unites most people into a community is not their common belief in things that defy common sense, but their common agreement to suspend their disbelief in these things because they believe belonging to a community, even one based on illusions, is better than being alone. This may be the greatest illusion.

Most people work hard to forget what common sense tells them, and remember what illusions they must believe or pretend to believe in order to be members of their community.  I’m in awe of the work that takes, and the cunning it takes for people to deceive not only each other but themselves. 

I don’t strive to live without illusions because I imagine I’m stronger and/or smarter than other people. I do it because I’m too weak and lazy to do the hard work I'd have to do in order to live with others and their illusions.

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