Lack of Vision, Open Eyes
The stories we tell ourselves can destroy us.
History is an illusion
We tell a story of how it was,
and we convince ourselves
it was nothing but true.
Facts are real,
but it is the story we tell
that makes them true.
The ones who don’t know how life and mythology work want to believe facts and information can sway the minds of the masses and change the world. They don’t know that the world doesn’t change. People change. Nature changes on its own accord, but the only thing that changes people is the story the believe in their heart.
Everyone believes something
It is hard not to laugh at people when they say they don’t believe in anything. It is a nihilistic lie and a story they believe with at least part of their heart.
Reality isn’t true or false. Science tells us if a hypothesis is valid or invalid, but not if it is true. It is possible to misinterpret data and come to the wrong solution. The story we tell about reality, though, that can be true if it resonates with something deep with in us and weaves the randomness of life together in a way that makes sense to us.
A story is true if it satisfies a few criteria:
It corresponds with our experience of reality.
It connects us to something bigger or deeper.
It grants us a sense of meaning or purpose.
It makes the randomness make sense.
We want to believe that the facts matter, that the scientific discoveries matter. We desperately want to believe we are rational, intelligent people. None of that is true. We are as we have always been, passionate people who are ruled by our emotions.
Conspiracy theories and webs of lies
Once we understand how we build our sense of reality, we can see how people fall into conspiracy theories and cults. Encountering a story that satisfies the basic needs above convinces people it is true. If they have invested the idea of truth with power and meaning, than anything that threatens the story risks a loss of meaning and purpose. Fight, flight, or freeze kicks in, and the conspiracy theory entrenches itself as a part of their identity, making it even harder to escape.
Conspiracy theories are the new religions for this age of disillusion.
So… how do we move forward in this state of disillusion and conspiracies?
Tell better stories
Does that mean lie to ourselves and others? No, not really.
We have to start with something that resonates with us:
Something that gave us a sense of meaning or purpose
Don’t base your life or you whole story on just one of these, but it is the place to start.
For example, my life story is based on a lot of little things over the years, but the major change that has changed my life for the better happened a couple years ago. I’ve mentioned the story before, and I will be talking about it more in the future, but in short Brigid came to me in my dreams and inspired me to start making art again.
Does it matter if it was a dream or the actual goddess Brigid? How would I know the difference? The dreams inspired me to make art and write poetry again. Isn’t that what Brigid would do? She also taught me follow inspiration, not truth, so I accepted the inspiration. I shared the art and poems with others who also resonated with them. Each image, each poem, each interaction with those I shared them with build a new story. I opened up, accepted that I am a Christopagan and a Druid. In the last two years my whole story has been rewritten.
This change hasn’t just helped me, but has helped others. They didn’t convert to my “new religion.” They learned how to create their own: how to rewrite their own stories.
Life flows out and encourages others to grow.
Share better stories
If we are going to build a better world, it will take all of the scientists, doctors, engineers, and activists striving to make it so, but it will also take all the dreamers, storytellers, artists, and poets to tell a better story to inspire people to keep working for that better future.
I am going to keep sharing my stories and I need you all to share yours too. You can add them to the comments, start your own blog, newsletter, podcast, social media channel, whatever you want to do and feel comfortable doing. If you don’t feel comfortable sharing publically, they tell a friend or at the very least start a journal.
If we are going to clear this miasma from the world, we have to build a new, eclectic, and open mythology one story at a time. This process can never stop or culture will stagnate again and we will be right back where we started.
Let’s build that better world a little bit every day.