Dogma

What is Dogma?

Dogma is any ideology that demands of its followers unquestioned loyalty and faith.  Faith in its doctrines . . . in its leaders . . . in its proclamations.  Behind its ‘scripture’ may stand elements of truths – some of which can (and are) useful at times.  However, it demands no questioning of its current tenets – particularly by laypersons and “outsiders.”  Violators of this edict are either ignored and/or ridiculed and ostracized . . . . cut off from their ‘enlightened’ body of fellow followers; beat down into a silent pulp.

  • Accept what you’re told
  • Don’t question
  • Shut up
  • Go along
  • Praise the authorities

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Where Can Dogma Be Found?

You’re thinking I’m only referring to Religion in my definition above, aren’t you?      🙂

Dogma can most definitely be found in Religion, where it serves as a foundation of intensely strong emotional and intellectual slavery.

But it also resides in Politics and Academia (particularly in Science and History).  In fact, we seem to have reached a point where Science has become its own “religion.”  Science and its droves of loyal, “rational” skeptics demand absolutely no challenge to existing scientific theory; its sacred ‘scripture.’

This group of adamant Dogma Disciples(TM) spew proclamations that certain cherished scientific theories are unequivocal truth and cannot be questioned or challenged at any cost or in any way.  It’s as though the theory is settled and absolutely “known” as 100% accurate for all time!  They don’t want you (or any other layperson) to know how Science is supposed to be done.  You are to believe that their proclamation is 100% truth – or face denigration and disgrace.

12042905_10153646142035786_2310498310002067900_nTrue science, however, will never proclaim absolute, 100% accuracy.  All theories are subject to revision if new, more compelling evidence comes to light to indicate the theory needs modification.  Dogmatists deny this possibility.  They are protecting their precious turf at all costs.

The interesting ‘kicker’ is that most incredible scientific revolutions come not from within the paradigm of dogmatic assertions, but instead from outsiders of the scientific specialization in question.  (Reference Thomas Kuhn’s “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.“)

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The Upside Of Dogma

Is there an upside?  I guess it depends from which side of the pulpit/publication you’re standing.  From the side of the purveyors of dogma, it definitely serves a few critical purposes:

  • Keeps the followers blinded and in line
  • Keeps the followers dumbed-down and unquestioning
  • Maintains a loyal herd of acolytes – willing to do their ‘duty’ for the cause
  • Holds the threat of punishment, ridicule and embarrassment above the heads of those even considering the questioning of dogmatic tenets
  • Maintains control of the dogmatic leaders’ power structure/hierarchy
  • Keeps the “machine” of control in place – regarding all aspects of control (knowledge, thought, emotions, faithfulness, money, duty, patriotism)
  • Keeps the money flowing to those in control (religious tithes, scientific funding, political donations/bribes)
  • An EXCELLENT manipulation & propaganda tool. . . . . conditioning par excellence!

 

The Downside Of Dogma

The downsides of dogma?  For devout followers the following list will make no sense and they will deny it to their deaths.  For seekers of reality and truth . . . . adventurous thinkers and discoverers . . . . questioning members of the human race that don’t appreciate ideology shoved down their throats, this list will resonate:

  • It stunts progress and growth
  • Stunts discovery
  • Stunts the spirit of adventure
  • Stunts cross-specialization contributions
  • Bolsters dogmatic power mongers
  • Maintains the existing power hierarchy and “truth” narrative
  • Closes open discussions and alternative theories
  • Absolutely crushes the desire and aspirations of new entrants to academia who feel actual scientific discovery and advancement is what should be pursued (unless it aligns with the source of the funding)
  • Unequivocally supports the corporate and political funding monster (they’re not going to get results contrary to what they pay for).
  • Absolutely silences anyone in academia, politics or religion who may want to challenge the status quo
  • Provides another unquestioning advocate for the cause
  • If you’re a member of the ‘herd’ it gives you something to latch on to as a security blanket in all aspects of life.  No need to question anything.  Supports lazy thinking.
  • Refer to all the reasons above for the “upside” of dogma.

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Are You A Dogma Disciple?

So, honestly now . . . . does any of the following describe you?

  • Espouse total, unequivocal, unquestioning support for your political ideology
  • Espouses total, unequivocal, unquestioning support for the very popular headlines of the “important” scientific theories such as the Big Bang, Black Holes, Dark Energy/Space, Evolution, Energy, etc.
  • Espouses total, unequivocal, unquestioning support for your version of religious enlightenment, giving absolute devotion to its sacred scriptures.
  • Never dig beyond evidence that supports any of the above; employing Confirmation Bias in your approach to “research.”
  • Judge and ridicule those who don’t believe as you do.
  • Employ Cognitive Dissonance to any evidence that threatens or conflicts with your dogma.
  • You feel there must be a definitive answer to everything and you’re willing to latch on to whatever “authority” espouses those answers (regardless of the actual detailed evidence behind it).

 

Ridding Yourself of Dogma

Understand we’re all subject to Confirmation Bias and make a conscientious and concerted effort to battle it within your psyche.

Understand we’re all subject to Cognitive Dissonance and make a conscientious and concerted effort to battle it within your psyche.

Practice the Clinical Attitude Towards Arguments and let it guide you to reality and truth wherever it may lead – even if in total conflict with your existing and cherished belief structure.

Question everything.  Assume nothing.  Be a Walking Question Mark.  Be humble and open to reasonable and rational concepts and ideas, even if they fly in the face of orthodoxy.

Be a Free Thinker.  Don’t be afraid to question the herd. . . . to question the norm . . . to question orthodoxy . . . . to be a Knowledge Adventurer.

Be willing to admit that you might not have definitive answers to the questions of life and the universe, but you’re willing to learn and adapt.  Stating there isn’t enough evidence to know for sure doesn’t mean it’s a sign of weakness . . . instead it’s a sign of wisdom.

 

Freedom!

What’s the reward to this dogma-freeing approach?

Confidence . . . Independence . . . Self-Control . . . Individual Self-Reliance . . . . Self-Authority . . . . Manipulation-proof existence . . . . Seeing bull-shit when it’s purveyed to you as ‘fact’ . . . . Resoluteness that there are no 100%-guaranteed answers to the mysteries of the universe . . . . Seeing power mongers for what they are (protecting their power-base turf) . . . . Seeing ignorance masked as enlightenment . . . . Freedom!

 

Integrity,Commitment,Truth

 

 

Values – Personal Core

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What Exactly Are Values?

Value can fall into several arenas:

  1. Economic – the material worth of something compared to the monetary price paid.
  2. Utility/Importance – something held in high regard due to its usefulness or importance to you.
  3. Aesthetic – this could technically be a part of Utility/Importance, above, but has a more specific relation to art, beauty, harmony and nature such that it elicits a pleasurable experience for the viewer.
  4. Personal-Core/Ethical – what’s most important to you in life; the guiding principles of your life that dictate action & behavior; it defines who you are.

The primary focus of this article is #4 – Personal Core values.  These are principles, standards or convictions we feel are deeply important to our lives.  Theoretically, these elements of our core should drive our daily activities and behavior – serving as a compass or beacon for our actions.  They are instilled in us culturally throughout our life as we grow and learn.

Rarely, though, does anyone attempt to actually identify their core values.  Because of this, and the chaos and lack of focus they experience daily, they find themselves with a nagging feeling something is missing.  Let’s change that.  Let’s live life with self-confidence and direction. Let’s make better and more confident decisions.  Let’s eliminate the time vampires in our lives if they don’t align with our values.  Let’s embrace what’s really important and drive up our joy and happiness quotient.

 

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A “Default” Life

It’s so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day chaos.  Our attention is yanked left and right by the pressing urgency of our work & personal lives, and this is compounded by HUGE distractions thrown in our face every day via daily news drama.

If we choose NOT to take an active role in our life direction, it takes zero effort to allow our lives to be pulled into the mire of mundane chaos, depression and hopelessness that seems to surround us.  Days, weeks, months and years pass by; what have we really accomplished?  Are we happy? Or are we frustrated and exhausted?

Did we do what’s required of us in our job?  Did we do what’s required of us for our family, spouse, kids?  Did we do what’s required of us by any social or religious organizations? Did we vent a sigh of relief when we finally were able to sit and idle our minds and body once our daily regimen of responsible duties are complete?

Then……what did we do?  Did we tackle the important things in our personal lives that matters to us as individuals?  Did we pick up the activities we consider passions and pursue them with satisfied pleasure?  Or, were we too pooped-out for our passions?

This describes a “default” life – trying to live by a myriad of other values rather than yours (friend’s, church, education, professional/career, political, etc.).  The result is dissatisfaction, restlessness and anxiety . . . knowing something isn’t right . . . your life isn’t in control.

 

Moving Towards Living a ‘Designed’ Life

By identifying your core values you can live a more directed life, make more intelligent and better decisions, and focus on the things that really matter to you.  Having these values in the forefront of your mind helps you clearly identify priorities, eliminate drains on your time and energy, and enjoy a more focused, joyful life. You don’t get yanked about in an aimless direction by anything and everything that comes your way.  We should strive to live a life by “design” rather than by “default.”

Don’t get me wrong, the myriad of demands and choices doesn’t stop coming your way.  But by knowing your core values you’re prepared to take a stand and make decisions about what you focus upon.

 

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How to Identify Your Core Values

This type of activity can be found in personal improvement books and websites.  You can simply Google core values or core values list and find many sites with lists and exercises to accomplish the task.

A couple of the best sites I found are linked below.  Each of these requires you to spend some time on introspection and reflection rather than just picking values from a list:

A couple of sites that have nice lists of values:

 

There are many benefits of living around your core values: satisfaction, contentment, happiness, fulfillment, purpose, meaning, peace of mind, self-confidence, harmony, success.  These are the result of living an authentic life without confusion, guilt or shame.

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Is this activity producing value?

You’ll feel a sense of discovery and satisfaction after developing your list of top values.  Review it periodically as a continual reminder of what’s deeply important to you.

Each day, find ways to focus on activities that align with those values.  Eliminate as many activities and areas of focus that do not align.  (I wouldn’t recommend quitting your source of income, unless you have your dream job already lined up.)

The minutes of your life are finite.  Use them the best way possible, rather than squandering them aimlessly.  Make your life the best it can be.

Consider some of the following throughout your days and weeks:

  • Are the hours of my life creating value for me?
  • Does the decision I’m about to make align with my values?
  • Is the activity I’m about to partake in going to produce value in my life?  Does it support my core values?
  • Is the purchase I’m about to make going to provide value to my life?  Does it support my core values?

 

My Values

I went through an exercise five to ten years ago to identify my values.  They are (in no particular order):

  • Discovery/Learning/Knowledge, Truth/Accuracy, Beauty/Aesthetics, Growth/Self-Actualization, Freedom/Self-Reliance/Individualism, Integrity, Justice, Results, Creating/Building

Yes, this is more than the 5 or 10 the articles suggest.  However, I resonate with all of them and enjoy the reminder of their importance to my life.  Ultimately these values are what drove my selection of the Categories and Sub-categories used on this blog.

I use these to identify my life’s goals and document the important focal activities to pursue in something called a Strategy On A Page (SOAP).  This SOAP includes a list of those values plus areas of aligning focus for my life’s interests and pursuits.  I reference this through the year to ensure alignment to what’s most important.

The whole process of identifying and embracing my values has created more happiness and contentment in my life – a goal we should all embrace!

BeYourself

 

As with any sourcing on the internet, links can go ‘dead’ after a time. If you find the above-mentioned links no longer working, try the WayBack Machine:  http://archive.org/web/web.php    It’s sometimes a good way to pull up and view websites that are no longer active.

 

 

 

 

Don’t Believe Everything You Think

03213eaf500cbfb4c9ff964cd5c1313cI saw this on a car’s bumper sticker today.  It definitely struck me and resonated with what I continually try to focus upon.  Always question your basic beliefs and assumptions.  Objectively (truly objectively) look at all points of an argument or belief.  Use the Clinical Attitude whenever possible.

Embrace intellectual integrity and be willing to admit that beliefs you’ve held for many years may be wrong when you’re presented with evidence that conflicts and challenges those beliefs.  Adopt the attitude of, “Bring it on. Give me some kind of evidence that can seriously rock the foundations of my life assumptions. Make me question the foundation of my beliefs, change as needed, and get closer to the truth.  As rational thinking individuals this is the approach we should adopt.

Unfortunately, my assumption is that most people who would put this sticker on their car are more interested in how it applies to others rather than themselves.  I think that 99% of the populace would NEVER want to challenge and change their inherent beliefs.

If the comic strip below represents the essence of you looking for “evidence” then you simply aren’t objectively challenging yourself in any way.  You’re deceiving yourself.

ByFacoMIcAA2roX.png-largeIf this is you . . . . you’re a slave to Confirmation Bias.

If you listen to pundits spouting all you believe and hold true, and think that confirms your position . . .  you’re not objectively looking for the truth.  You’re looking for a security-blanket – your own personal self-deception binky.

Don’t believe what you believe.  Don’t assume the majority are right.  Break free from the herd.  Assume they’re wrong.  Assume you’re wrong.  Dig for ALL the evidence to move towards a more accurate picture of reality – the truth.

Integrity,Commitment,Truth