I’m still trying to figure out how I feel about being thrust ahead of everyone else in terms of understanding the world by my studies and experiences. It might sound arrogant, but I’d use a word with less of a pejorative meaning. I just started listening to myself over others from a very young age. I tried to conform in my twenties, but that was a failure, and I’ve never really looked back from there.
Anyway, my understanding of the universe feels like it’s ahead of 99% of people, and I’m not terribly smarter than average. I suck at reading books; I can hardly concentrate without getting lost in thoughts and realizing I just “read” 3 pages that I can’t even remember. My math skills aren’t amazing, but I know where to go for answers. I can’t program worth a damn except for scripting. But, because I listen to my own conscience, I’ve been able to throw a lot of terrible, time-wasting, and self-destructive ideas out.
So where is ahead? Ahead is definitely understanding the spiritual mind from a rational viewpoint. Way too many supposedly smart people are more than happy to completely ignore anything spiritual or contemplative and call it “atheism” which I view as intellectual laziness. No other animal on the planet is “religious” or spiritual in the way that man is, and man has always used religious symbolism as a part of his or her understanding. This exists everywhere. There has not been a civilization found that does not have explanations for things that the “rational” mind cannot see or effectively communicate but exist in consciousness. I like to think I’ve figured a few things out as a few others have, but this kind of conjecture is not the same as teaching something like math. The understanding of one’s own consciousness has to be developed from within like building a calculator for oneself in her own consciousness. The effective teacher can point in the right direction and redirect if necessary, but they can’t give you the experiences to do all the work for you.
I also think that people need to understand basic Economics better. I’m not talking about supply and demand but something deeper. People need to understand incentives. Too often people use worn out moralities to try and understand behavior when they should really just ask “who benefits?” or “what is the incentive?” This is a terribly powerful way to look at the world because you can clear through the BS pretty quickly. You can expose charlatans very quickly, by showing how they might have a conflict of interest. This is not an absolute though, as all things need to be contemplated using the principle of moderation. Sometimes people with conflicts of interest can be right, like if a politician is advocating a tax increase. The reactionary response to this is “he is just self-interested and he just wants job security!” when really the society might need more revenue going to government. Too often people find an effective tool like looking at incentives, and then they use that tool as the only tool in the toolbox. Every tool has benefits and drawbacks. You can hammer most nails with a hammer, but if you tried to hammer a needle, the needle would probably just bend and be ruined even though it is just a more narrow “nail.”
So, what do you call this kind of thinking? I don’t know. I suppose an analogy is if you are a construction worker or you make things like a Carpenter, and you have a certain set of tools in your bag, and those tools seem to work, you can’t always assume that you have the best tools. You have to try different tools, and some of those different tools will fail, but some of them will be better. I suppose there is some golden ratio to how much time you dedicate to reconsidering your “tool bag” versus just getting work done making things, but I don’t know what it is exactly. Also, if you’re always going to the same “tool store” like always going to the same religion or school of thought, you’re never going to get new ideas for new tools. You have to try new things. Go get a second or third opinion. Usually it doesn’t take that much time, but it does require having an open mind, and this scares a lot of people, which brings me to my last point.
I’m transgender, and really who cares right? It’s not a big deal in the grand scheme of things just like being a woman or a man is not the deciding factor in your existence unless you are a very boring person. However, it is a “fringe” kind of thing. It is something that is put in the drawer marked “DON’T LOOK IN HERE!” So, this makes it taboo. Well, I just happen to have transgender genes or something that made me have a transgender brain, and I tried not looking in that drawer for 30 years, and I was bored out of my mind and uncomfortable and lazy and miserable. It was like trying to be our friend the carpenter with his tool bag and no hammer! Sure you can use like a wrench to try and hammer things, but it’s terribly inefficient. It just doesn’t feel right, and it isn’t designed to do what you need to do. Eventually, I looked at that drawer and asked “who put this sticker on here that says don’t look in here?” and people said, well “God did!” or “Society did!” And I said “what God? where is this God?” and “which member of society said it?” and questions like that.
Eventually after years of going around and asking these simple questions to many different people, I came to the realization that with these questions, concerning the drawer, nobody had any idea whatsoever what they were talking about. They were just repeating worn out sentences they heard when they were five or things TV said. So I just looked at them and said “you people might look smart, but about this drawer here, you’re all completely ignorant,” and they looked awfully offended and grumbled and shamed me, and I just shrugged, said “meh…” and opened the drawer.
And I found a perfect hammer in the drawer. I turned around and showed the hammer to the people, and they were all trembling looking at me. I said “look it’s just a hammer! What’s the big deal?” They said “but it’s a pink hammer! We’ve never seen a pink hammer before! and it’s shaped kind of differently” So I grabbed a nail, tried out the pink hammer, and it worked perfectly for me. Some of those people turned around and walked away, and I’ve never seen them since. Some of the people said “yeah I guess it isn’t that big a deal, and we just got that drawer wrong,” and I still talk to those people.
But, what I learned most of all is that you can’t trust labels people put on drawers. I turned and saw that there were hundreds of other drawers with labels that said “DON’T LOOK IN HERE!” on them. Some said “Religion” or “Sexuality” or other words like that. I started looking in those drawers that no one ever looked in because I had such a good experience with the pink hammer, and I’ve found a lot of great different things with which to make things. So I’m happy I dared to open a few taboo drawers.
So, if you want to get ahead of the pack, have an open mind, question people’s motivations, and get second opinions. But if these things don’t work, just listen to your instincts, because maybe to you, I’m just another person who doesn’t know what the hell she’s saying, and that’s perfectly fine. Oh, and last, smile more. It helps.