Springingtiger's Blog


Above Us, Only Sky!

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It takes me along time to get through a bar of soap…do I hear you go yeuch? I don’t use the soap every day. By now, perhaps you are slightly shocked, so when I tell you I am working through a huge bottle of Orange shower gel and all our basins are equipped with hand wash dispensers, I expect you will feel some relief. We humans tend often to draw conclusions on too little evidence.
Humans have a desperate need for meaning and completion. Where there are gaps in our information we will fill them, and what we don’t know we make up. We want explanations for everything, we cannot bear not to understand. We would rather make up an explanation for something than not know, and having made up the explanation we are capable not only of believing it ourselves, but of disseminating it as truth. The stories we create take on a reality of their own and quickly become the truth of alligators in the sewers, and humanoid monsters in the forest. Sports commentators are particularly prone to filling in the gaps by telling us what players are thinking, but, in reality, until the post match interviews the thoughts of Andy Murray or Brian O’Driscoll remain a mystery and on revelation are frequently more prosaic than the speculations of the commentators..

We are so desperate for reasons that we will accept even obviously false explanations. Research has been done into the social niceties of writing and it was found that people in a queue would allow people to jump the queue as long as they had a reason, even though the reason given was irrelevant. If nothing else this shows how powerful is the structure of communication in gaining results. This is frequently used in hypnosis which exploits the human need for meaning to gain compliance eg. “You are sitting, feeling the pressure of your body on the chair, listening to my voice, and this means you are ready to GO into a deep trance now.” No it doesn’t mean that at all! However our minds will frequently conform to instruction as long as it is accompanied by a reason, but that reason need not bear any relevance to the instruction.
We are so willing to accept information as long as we have a reason that we accept celebrities as authorities just because we have seen them on television or  more reasonably, because they have written a book, regardless of the value of the book. We are so desperate for meaning that we willingly sacrifice reason for reasons. There is a wonderful American teeshirt slogan, “Shit Happens” no reasons, no explanations, it just happens. It may terrify some people, but what if there is no reason, what if the meaning of life is simply to live? Would it be so bad if this is all there is?  When we drop our need for reasons we become free to think and act ;reasons are a prison, as long as we need explanations we will be at the mercy of others.

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