There are so many experiences we all have in our very first year that most of us have no memory. We have stories we heard from parents and caregivers and sometimes those stories feel almost like a memory. When it comes down to it and you really push your brain for anything that feels even remotely like a true memory, you realize you simply visualized someone else’s memory.
Part of the reason we don’t have those memories is because at the time we had that new experience we had no way to describe it, no way to understand anything more than what we had already learned in our introduction to the world. In order for those experiences to be carried into our memory we need to understand what it was that happened and in most cases we need words for that.
I remember bad dreams from when I was very young but that is because I had an understanding at that point what fear was to me. I did not want to be without the essentials I needed to live, I didn’t understand death but I did understand being hurt and being taken away and I understood what it was to be left and when the night terrors came, they were filled with all of my worst fears. I did not know that night terrors feel exceptionally real so there were times when I had thought what happened in my dream was real. Because of the religious upbringing and training I believed that it was more than possible to be stolen in the night by demons or the devil himself.
These beliefs were of course reinforced in an attempt, I suppose, to solidify my belief in their god. I had no reason to doubt the people who taught me these things as there were no other conflicting ideas or views. I had been given no reason at that point to distrust what I was told and so I believed.
Language, open dialogue and being able to hear multiple points of view can drastically change the way we see the world and how we experience the world. It’s not so surprising then when others believe something different from ourselves that we rush to judgement. We don’t understand how given the information available they could view things as they do and we are outraged. We judge these people and their views and beliefs harshly and in turn they do the same. We are of course simply reacting based on the information we have.
So, imagine that things went differently for me and I was never given any reasons to question what I had been trained to believe. Imagine that I was never exposed to other ideas or points of view. I am sure that as an adult I would cling even more tightly to my beliefs when they were finally called into question. I would defend them with all of my energy and I wouldn’t be wrong.
This is why open dialogue matters. This is why allowing children to question everything around them matters because without all of the information there is no choice to believe something different. There is no different option.
When that conditioning continues into adulthood, when we are shielded from opposing ideas, when there is no diversity in our learning and our environment by the time these things come along we not only reject anything that opposes our beliefs but we fear anything and anyone that threatens their validity.
I think what is interesting is that not everyone that is exposed to these different ideas and ways of life leaves behind their childhood beliefs. For some they learn to incorporate the new concepts and ideas into their current belief system. It’s true that some would walk away but I think that is more about the people that taught them these things and the way they conducted themselves than the actual beliefs.
I don’t think that given the way my mind works and my love of the sciences that my current beliefs would be any different but maybe if I could have been accepted despite the fact I believed differently what would be different would be my family.
Stay tuned for part 2 of this discussion as I will discuss how dangerous life can get when you are never allowed to question what you have been taught and what the consequences are when there is no vocabulary to describe an experience and no way to know who is dangerous. You…..or something or someone else.
Peace and love peeps. I would love to hear what you think about what Ive started. As always you don’t have to agree, just do your best to be kind and respectful
Til next time.