The Whole World’s a Stage……

1 Oct

‘Approximately six million years ago we and our furry cousins went our separate ways. In the interim period our prefrontal cortex continued to develop. Useful though it is for executive functions such as the ability to understand abstract concepts, project forward and problem solving, unfortunately, it comes with baggage; a lot of baggage……’image

Though a highly developed prefrontal cortex is useful it has one huge caveat. It controls emotions, and emotions are irrational. To ‘survive’ in the world we have to constantly moderate our behaviour in order to satisfy a ‘social contract’. Therefore, people lie. They lie to their family, they lie to their friends and they lie to themselves…….

The daily lies and banal platitudes that people exchange confine them within a social Pigeon hole but allow them the self-delusion that they are a unique individual, which in truth is as individual and unique as the mock-Tudor house they probably live in. As if solitary confinement within a society is not stifling enough, people habitually make decisions using their emotions; as emotions are empirically irrational any decision influenced by them must by definition be irrational. It is a strange twist of evolution that having the ability to act rationally makes people think and act irrationally……

Hypocrisy is alive and well too. Not only the hypocrisy between inner thoughts and outward presentation but also, as the gap between venerated belief systems and reality widens, people who claim to believe in gods and spiritual nonsense rarely follow even the basic rules of their chosen arbitrary system; deceiving themselves as part of an irrational ‘insurance’ policy. All belief systems are redundant in light of what science tells us. You speak to an imaginary friend every Sunday you’re religious. Your imaginary friend speaks to you and you’re Schizophrenic. – Do it all. Do none of it or, by definition, you are a hypocrite……

Everybody dies; deal with it. We have a finite, insignificant existence and yet we credit ourselves with ‘delusions of grandeur’ when it comes our own self-importance as individuals and as a species. Prior to being born, for the first 14 billion years of cosmic evolution you were unaware that you would be born, ‘existing’ as it were in darkness. It is to that darkness that you will return for infinity having by chance beaten the astronomical odds that the sperm and egg that gave rise to you was ever fertilised……

An extension of blind faith and one which requires no religion, just self-deception, is ‘fate’. Maybe it helps people feel like they exercise control over random events. They find comfort in what is a non-deterministic universe with no predefined outcome, yet gives a false impression of stability, ergo anything that goes in your favour is ‘fate’; things that don’t are ‘bad luck’. Another irrational and uniquely human thought process……

If you are prepared to take off the mask you must first accept that you are wearing one. You are an Ape with higher brain functions. It isn’t easy for people to accept that they are irrational, lying, hypocritical Monkeys engaged in a game of ‘keeping up appearances’. If you apply rationale and logic to life and loose the mask, it can leave your opponent in a social interaction shocked at your brutal honesty. The usual defence to being told the truth is to take offence and rather than accepting that you are wrong, accuse the challenger of threatening or aggressive behaviour. Admittedly, being confronted by someone who doesn’t apply social etiquette is unnerving. However, if you feel offended, tough; there’s no given human right to protected you from feeling offended, it’s just another irrational function of the prefrontal cortex……

Liberating yourself from the ‘game’ makes decision making much easier; rational decisions are either good or bad. Telling someone the dispassionate truth may violate their expectations but leaves no ambiguity or confusion about the point you are making. It does have the effect of making people think you’re rude or arrogant but if you are truly uninhibited you simply don’t care. If your point was reached using unemotional logic and reasoning and the Ape you are talking to fails to grasp why, the problem lies with them and their need to fit into the social order…….

I am not immune. I act irrationally and deceive myself but as I watch the world as an outsider I have started to free myself, make logical decisions and tell people precisely what I think. It’s a liberating experience. The question is: dare you do the same…..?

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