Boldly existing outside the box through conscious living and constant learning.
All too often we as human beings in our attempts to create comfort and familiarity in our world formulate opinions and accept truths that are based on an incomplete personal life journey. What I mean by this is that it seems a mistake to draw our conclusions about the rest of humanity and the world we live in from a bank that is not full of ideas to draw from. Each of our past experience is unique to us and may not always represent the expanse of human conditions that exist. We fall into slippery pits when we begin to assign truth and judgment on other people or our society utilizing this less-than-complete tool. What seems true and right to me based on my past personal experience or the place that I come from may not be such to someone else somewhere else in the world.
What seems to me to be a more effective method is to seek to constantly expand the bank from which we draw our conclusions and refine the tool with which we formulate our opinions. Though we can really never learn or experience everything, the more we can populate our minds with, the more truthful our conclusions will be. This means to not limit our understanding to the narrow confines in which our limited past experience or upbringing lead us. We all come from different places with different sets ideas that come from said life experience. To honor and respect that fact we must honestly and openly expose ourselves to the unique experience of others.
This does not, by any means, indicate that you abandon your beliefs or change your opinions for others. Quite the contrary. Often times the explorations of other cultures, beliefs, individuals, and societies reinforce the truth of our own particular set of ideas. The idea is not to pilfer or absorb others’ culture but to learn of it and use that knowledge to better appreciate the unique existence of each human being. We are each who we are which is the collection of our past experience, present standing, and the absorption of the world around us.
The question does remain though, is there a set of universal moral principles that exist across the spectrum of humanity that we can look to for guidance? And if there is should be accept it as truth? I think we can all agree that basic human rights and the respect of those are pretty well truth. The right of people to be safe, healthy, have access to food, shelter, water, and healthcare, and the right of all to have some form of education seem to be true for all people. In addition the right of people to not be judged negatively for their beliefs or ideologies is something that, though widely denied in various parts of the world, I think we can agree is a positive thing. When we pair our continued pursuit of understanding and education with these core human rights we can ensure we are on a bright path of enlightenment and deeper understanding of truth.
The need for deeper levels of tolerance and honest seeking of understanding comes from the danger of generalizing groups of people and cultures based on limited or incomplete places in our minds. Let’s take for example the governance of people and the enacting of laws by said government. When we attempt to utilize generalized notions about groups of people in the creation of the laws that govern we can run into dangerous consequences. Laws that utilize the proliferation of stereotypes or the general characteristics of a population fail to account for the extremely varied people even within a small group. Those who create such laws do not understand the consequences for the portion of the targeted population for whom the law does not apply. Being profiled for your gender, race, religion, ethnicity, or sexual orientation can be psychologically scaring and mentally upsetting. We should not, by any means, abide by the old adage that the ends justify the means and that if we are accomplishing what we set out to do that the wreckage left in the wake is ok.
Our ability as a society and as individuals to avoid the pitfalls using limited past experience and incomplete recognition of the unique nature of the human experience is predicated on the continued gathering of information through experiences. Only by exposing ourselves to the cornucopia of views, cultures, opinions, and people can we ensure that the opinions we do formulate based on the place we come from are at aided by a wide range of understanding. As is one of the principles of Unboxed Living we must continually seek to build the core of our spirit and our mind through new experiences and open-mindedness, Without that pursuit we will forever remain boxed in and not be able to fully appreciate and participate in the human drama.
Maybe even more important than our personal growth and knowledge is the power of understanding in the context of the whole world. When understanding is sought and people are open to the value of broad learning and acceptance tolerance can thrive and peace can be had. In a world wrought with war and conflict, tolerance and understanding may be the only tools we have to combat these evils. Let us each strive to be pieces of the solution and partners in the continued unification of the human race. Let us not add to the debilitating epidemic of bigotry, intolerance, and hatred that continues to permeate the world’s cultures. What can you do today to add to your bank of knowledge from which to draw your opinions? Share in the comments and help us all become more Unboxed.