Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Pedaling the dream

Sometimes I get into arguments... my wife reminds me not to get stirred up and importantly, not to cause unnecessary discomfort to others. In frustration, when I used to argue a lot, she would say to me "Do you want to be right? Or do you want to be happy?". I get it I really do get why sometimes it is more important to keep the peace rather than be guided by my pride deeper into a battle of wills with everyone around me. But what about when the argument is not to impose my own opinion on others but to find out. What is the truth?

What if the question became: "Do you want the truth? Or do you want to be happy?"
I'm sure from time to time most of us would prefer to continue believing a beautiful lie than face the ugly truth but does that make the foundation for a whole way of life? Is it even possible to go through life ignoring truth in favor of illusion?

I've just watched a surprising film which, without completely phsycho analizing the situation, takes a look at how Lance Armstrong (The cyclist) managed to deceive cycling fans around the world by claiming not to have used any performance enhancing drugs or blood doping etc... in order to win 7 Tour de France cycle races. He became a national hero in the USA and a champion for people throughout the world who have suffered from cancer. A Hero! I think that word explains a lot. What is a hero? Who makes heroes? Could he have deceived the world if we hadn't actually wanted to be deceived?

The film didn't set out to destroy him, his reputation is already in tatters, but it did provide some insight into just how easily people can be fooled into believing something if they really want to believe it, regardless of the facts.

There were certain themes in George Orwell's book '1984' which have bitten deeply into me and won't let go! Whenever I sense an issue becoming a matter of 'popular opinion' I brace myself to be engulfed by psychic bubble of delusion. Opinions abound, uninformed opinions, affirmed by mass media and confirmed by one eyed reports narrowly channeled quoting limited sources, asserted portions of some half-baked notion. Brought to you on morning news TV but your opinion counts so your Tweets are entered into the mix! And the story always resolves to support the righteousness of the mob. Truth is not the objective, compliance as always, the primary directive, masses conforming to the approved narrative packaged and distributed through 1,000 news aggregates and passed off as fact. Simple and dramatic is the imperative, someone to condemn, someone to pity, someone to shame and despise... Us and them... If you ain't with us you're against us and on she rolls, The News. The clamor for approval and togetherness and "Are you Happy now?"

Truth? What is truth?

We are a herd animal, we naturally seek approval and acceptance of others. For our survival, social cohesion is undeniably important. Why would anyone choose to swim against the current? Under these conditions who would choose to oppose the herd? There are names for those who stupidly prefer to seek truth rather than acceptance. Heretic... Traitor... Fool etc...

But when she asks me "Do you want to be right? or do you want to be happy?" I have to bite my tongue, I keep my answer to myself! 


Chandra said...

Hey Peter,
It is good you know to bite your tongue, I say.
Loved every bit of this post - thought provoking!
May I suggest a book to you?
Field Notes on a Compassionate Life by Marc Ian Barasch - if you like to check it out.
You might like it.

Wish you and yours a healthy and happy 2015!

Peace :)

David J said...

Cheers and thanks Chandrasekhar. I'll check it out. All the best to you too