Follow no one, not even yourself: How to be right about more-or-less anything, most of the time

First published on 24 October 2022.

A lot of people try to make predictions about the future based on observations about the past. Of course, however, the only reality we truly experience is the present. But the present is the past moving forward to the future. This ineluctable truth reveals the inexorable flow of time. We cannot really change the future. We can only move towards it — fast, and slow.

Plato, philosopher of the good life.

But some like to pretend otherwise. This leads to dangerous modes of approaching the world, as if the world is some kind of permanent object with no possibility of change. In some ways it is the doom of consciousness to assume its material conditions will remain the same, for our thoughts loop back to their origins. But our thinking is often out of alignment with the reality around us. So we have to lift the veil, and pierce the thin fabric which separates us from the world outside. We have to remove ourselves of delusions. How?

The war against falsity is within and without. We must remove ourselves of two fictions:

1. The fiction of the self, and

2. The fiction of society, the ‘meta-self’.

We must escape these mental prisons within and without, breaking the cage of ideology and facing what really is for what it is, not what we wish it to be. To be right we must reject ourselves and the opinions of those around us. We must continually prove ourselves and others wrong. We must enact a permanent revolution against individualism, whether in its subjective or objective forms. We must be ourselves to reject societal expectations, and we must be with others to reject ourselves. But this leads to a swinging from one pole to another. There is another way.

Follow not what you or others think is true or good. Follow only what is true and good. You will make mistakes, for thoughts will deceive you, just as words and feelings and the external world deceive you. But to try to do the right thing — in thought, word, and deed — is the only thing that can be justly expected of you. And if anyone ever demands any more of you, feel free to refer them to the voice of reason, and the pursuit of knowledge. For in that journey, there is no wrong path — only the shadowlands in which we live, and the sunlit plains beyond. There is no going back. Onwards!

Disclaimer: Any similarity between names mentioned and actual individuals is purely accidental and largely theoretical. These are fun ideas to entertain but, as always, I may be mistaken. After all, what do I know?

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