The important distinction that needs to be made in our lives in order to come to a better understanding and knowledge.
What is on my mind today is this idea, really. Day after day we meet people; some we have known for years while others are new faces and every single one of them is distinct from each another in various ways. Some are similar to us in their way of life, thoughts, beliefs, and dreams while others couldn’t be more different. Oftentimes we like to group together with those who think and act like us, pushing away those that do not fall in line with our individual world views. By the time we are adults, such actions become second nature to us, occurring often without a second thought. We can meet a person and, within a few seconds, decide whether we should get to know them or not. Whether it is their appearance, way of speech, attitude, or actions that lead us to that decision does not matter, in the end the decision is still made.
We humans cherish our comfort zones so much that we rarely let anything in that could be seen as a threat to our own way of life. It is like we are all living in our own Echo Chambers: standing in the middle of the circle, speaking our mind and only allowing those we like to step into the circle with us. We feel secure in that circle, stable and confident in what we say and what we believe. Here we can scream and shout and joke however we wish to without having to worry about rejection or derision from others. But, that Echo Chamber is smaller than we could ever imagine and hides from the world that exists beyond it. It is a naive way to live, uninformed and blissfully blind at its core. Yet we stay within that circle and make sure that the walls that surround us stay standing.
The idea of stepping outside of our individual Echo Chambers makes us all shudder, many even subconsciously or even consciously wondering what the point of the venture would be. What could the rest of the world teach us that we don’t already know or can’t learn for ourselves through our own wit? Occasionally we may feel sure enough to let someone new into our circle, but often the second they say something contrary or offending to us, we blacklist them, no longer allowing them within our Echo Chamber as if from that one sentence or idea our walls had already begun to shake and grow weak, our very existent completely threatened. It takes a strong soul and will to allow such a person to continue on speaking to us and even those strong souls can slip up and return to their previous way of life if the idea presented is too ‘radical’ or ‘impossible’ for us to comprehend.
It is a constant thing we must practice and many give up after only a few tries, wishing to live in blind belief rather than venture to question or scrutinize. We treat our ideas as priceless and valuable, placing them upon pedestals and safeguarding them within our Echo Chambers and do not allow others to enter in and question the validity of the things we hold dear. But truth is not so fragile. “The truth is not afraid to be questioned. The Truth wants you to question it, so it can remove all your doubts. Only then can you be free.” If what we hold dear is the truth, then we should have nothing to fear no matter how many times it is questioned or scrutinized; yet often the very idea of such investigations leads to us immediately closing our doors to the world outside. We view their beliefs as little compared to our own, judging them before we truly get to know them and their beliefs.
But the world is a complex and vast place that we must seek to understand and explore, for there are many valuable things within it that can shine even brighter than our own ideas and beliefs do. It is even possible that what we learn from the world outside can add and benefit the ideas we already hold dear in ways we couldn’t even imagine. Yet, in our quest to protect our individual world’s, we cut off the potentiality for growth. But what is the point of a ‘strong’ Echo Chamber when the ideas housed within it hold no true value? When it is really a monument made to protect nothing of consequence or substance? To use a Greek Mythology analogy, we are toiling day in and day out like Sisyphus, pushing our rocks up a hill, back and forth and back and forth, yet truly accomplishing nothing in the end.
But this change, again, is not an easy or simple thing. It requires work, day in and day out, but with a true goal in mind, one pointed towards growth rather than protection. We must be on the offense more than on the defense in our actions and decisions. We cannot afford to give our life’s in protecting what matters very little, for our lives are worth so much more than that. We cannot work day in and day out in the fields, sacrificing our labor and effort when the field we work will never bear much or really any fruit. We must be willing to take the risk or the jump in order to reach new destinations. But that choice, is up to each of us to make.
Another great analogy to make is one from the Bible in the Parable of the Talents found in Matthew Chapter 25. Our ideas are like the coins spoken of in this story and, as Christ says, we must not hide our coins within the dirt, determined to keep them safe from those around us, but must rather bring them out into the world, work hard, and create something of more value then those original coins ever possessed. That is truly the message of this post and one that I try to follow as much as I can, no matter how hard or impossible it may seem to be- for I know that something great lurks on the other side of each journey I can make if I only seek to take the first step.