I can’t tell you how many times I have heard people use the word “ridiculous” to describe an idea that another has expressed. Sometimes, instead of using the word “ridiculous,” I might hear the more polite “I’m just keeping it real.” It doesn’t matter what word or expression is used, the insult is the same. I say insult because the person reacting to the “crazy” idea is displaying a disrespectful arrogance toward the person who is promoting the idea, as if the reactor knows more about reality than the idea’s promoter. It doesn’t matter how nice the reactor is trying to be. It doesn’t matter if the reactor is trying to help the promoter. It doesn’t matter what the reactor’s intentions are at all. An insult is an insult. The question is does the promoter accept the insult? I hope not!
As a promoter of various ideas myself, I have been the recipient of unsolicited critical feedback numerous times. So, I am sensitive to this interpersonal dynamic. As a result, I do my best not to knock other people’s ideas that I deem to be problematic unless they ask for my input. I think I am successful in this endeavor because I am aware of a difference between opinion and reality. The former is built upon beliefs, mindsets and interpretations, whereas the latter is really beyond the comprehension of any individual.
Yes, I said it. Reality is beyond the comprehension of any individual! Not even science has a monopoly on reality. The best science can offer is theories to explain observable facts. The more that people test a theory and obtain results that verify it, the more it may be accepted as reality. But we should never forget that theories are always vulnerable to be invalidated. Therefore, the best we humans can do when trying to describe reality is give our own interpretation of what we observe.
So if we can never totally comprehend reality, what does that imply? For starters, it means that each of us has a lifetime of exploration before us that is limited only by our imagination! How many times have we seen marvelous inventions built upon inconceivable technologies? Would we continue to experience progress or have a totally different lifestyle from our ancestors if we collectively accepted the belief that we understand reality in total? Hardly!
Of course, there have been numerous instances of people who claim that they do have it all figured out: From advocates of religions and philosophies to the scientifically inclined. Sooner or later, though, proponents of any model of reality have to come to terms with the limitations of their model. I am reminded of the famous quotation from the end of the nineteenth century, “Everything that can be invented has been invented.” Some paradigms are not easily dropped, though. Science’s embrace of materialism is one example and any of the major religions of the world are other examples. This resistance to let go of concepts that no longer serve us suggests to me that we humans have a deep insecurity that demands that we be able to control our world so that it does not surprise us to the point of annihilation. This need to control encourages us to play head games with ourselves in order to justify our feeling of victimization by a world we don’t fully understand despite our claims to the contrary.
By desperately clinging to our beliefs, we deprive ourselves of the liberation that the mystery of life can provide. It starts with asking questions–constantly. If you don’t question your world, you will never know your world; if you don’t question yourself, you will never know yourself. Nothing is sacred, and yet, questioning is the most sacred of acts! When we ask questions in our exploration of experience, we discover that we are gods in the sense that we literally create our own reality! Again, our creative powers are limited only by our imaginations. If you cannot imagine that the world is spherical, then of course, you will experience it as flat and will not likely challenge your horizons. On the other hand, those who do challenge their horizons will find that their horizons have no end. By way of their imaginations, the adventurous see the invisible and do the impossible!
So whenever I hear anyone say that any particular idea is ridiculous or that the idea is not realistic, a red flag is raised. I take this as a signal to either confront the person who is spewing their limiting beliefs or simply remove myself from their company. After all, I don’t want my ideas polluted with someone else’s limiting beliefs! If they want to live in their little prison of a world, that is their right. As for me, I choose to live freely in my experience of reality. For in seeing reality as an incomprehensible mystery, I embrace this mystery in order to continually learn about myself and my world and create a reality beyond imagination!