Dying Daily #311: Ideological Intoxication

I am going to drop (or at least cut down on using) the word intoxication because I am tired of it.

We are talking about the things that separate us from reality. Let’s just leave it at that.

Ideas and ideologies and “truths” are one of the easiest ways to be separate from reality. They teach us to deal with what is through the lens of beliefs and theories about it, rather than the thing itself.

This really got ahold of me when I started growing as a person. I got really caught up in ideas and beliefs and I thought I had the right ones. It was an odd thing. I stopped really thinking about the world in any way apart from these ideas and beliefs. They dictated my beliefs about things before I even encountered them.

I was vocal with these ideas and ideologies. I tried to share them with others, to convince them I was right. I got personally attached to them, despite having no hand in their creation or any verification of their accuracy.

Why this is problematic or intoxicating is difficult to pin down. It seems annoying at worst, which may be true, but I don’t think so.

Ideas and beliefs matter.

Even if they are “true” they separate us from reality to some degree because thinking about something is not the same as experiencing it. You can know everything about weather systems and how they work but it’s not the same as standing in a storm.

Untrue or half-true beliefs are even worse. They separate us from reality by a layer of deep distortion. This can lead us to judge others before we meet them, to assess situations before we know all the facts and make decisions based on pre-constructed sets of responses instead of the actual situation at hand.

Ideas and ideologies changed how I saw the world and then continually validated that change through self-reinforcing interpretations of events.

Reality had to pass through the lens of these beliefs before it could reach me. All lenses distort in some way. The only thing I want these days is to shave my lenses down as thin as possible, but the mind really likes ideologies and ideas to process things through. Even the idea of being intoxication-free is an ideology in and of itself, and is, therefore, in some way, distorting.

It never ends.

Thanks for reading.