Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Brain Blurbs

My shower time is when I think. Of course, I think other times, as well, but shower time is when my thoughts meander at will. And this morning, my thoughts thought these thinks.
"Yesterday I think I saw a headline somewhere about a political candidate saying that Americans are fatter and dumber than they used to be. Obviously as a nation, we are fatter because of all the obesity studies. (And do we really need these studies to tell us this?) So I wonder if we are dumber... I remember when we could buy used cars, now we buy pre-owned cars. Who are we fooling? And we used to eat at Kentucky Fried Chicken; now we eat at KFC because if we don't say the word 'fried' then it won't have negative health effects. And when I was in grade school, I used to want to be a secretary when I grew up. Now I would have to be an administrative assistant, because somehow the word 'secretary' is degrading and relegated to the female class. Despite the fact that 200 years ago, all secretaries were either men or a piece of furniture. And if I need to hoe the weeds in my garden, supposing I had a garden, I would not be able to call my hoe a hoe. I have to rely on studies that tell me that if I get less than 6 hours of sleep then I am not as productive as I could be, instead of realizing on my own that I am tired and need 8 hours of sleep to be well-rested. I have been brainwashed into thinking that certain brands are better than others, just because of the brand name, not because I have actually tried all the options to see for myself which one is better. We make sure that our math students have calculators because if they didn't have them they would have to actually figure out the math problem in their own brain. And hopefully I have spell check on my computer, or else I would have to learn to look words up in a dictionary (and probably remember how to spell them). At a meeting I recently attended, an overview of different education philosophies was presented. And whatever your thought of the actual philosophy is, one name struck me as funny - "unschooling". Isn't that an oxymoron? Homeschooling by unschooling? In the produce department at the grocery store, vegetables are proud of the fact that they are 100% fat free. And if I drink a Diet Coke, then I've canceled out the calories and fat grams from the Whopper I just ate. We get our daily exercise by spending lots of money on exercise equipment; at least the wallet got thinner. It would be healthier and cheaper to get fresh air by taking a walk. And speaking of 'cheap', it would be nicer to call something 'less expensive' rather than 'cheap' because 'less expensive' somehow gives the impression that quality has not been lost. Personally, I think 'less expensive' means 'it's still expensive, but not compared to that other product'. Thieves sue the stores they robbed because in their escape they were hurt by a security device in the store - and they win their lawsuits. We would rather believe that everything came from nothing rather than from an Intelligent Designer. Are we dumber than we used to be? Just a little..."
The book of Proverbs in the Bible is full of practical knowledge. In fact, it says, "The purpose of these proverbs is to teach people wisdom and discipline, and to help them understand wise sayings...These proverbs will make the simpleminded clever. They will give knowledge and purpose to young people...Fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. Only fools despise wisdom and instruction (Proverbs 1:2-7)." I hope I'm not getting dumber. Instead, I read Proverbs on a regular basis to help me think.
So if you can think of anything else to add to my thoughts, leave a comment...


John said...

I think it's interesting that you say you've been brainwashed into thinking a certain brand is better simply because you have had more exposure to it. It's good that you can recognize this happening, because you can then start taking measures to prevent a complete indoctrination. Obviously this isn't too big of a problem as long as it's limited to simple ideas/products: toothpaste, soap, cheese, computer brands... I've noticed that I am the same way as well. If I see enough commercials for a product, or if their label is colorful, I'm much more likely to stay loyal to it.

Another area I noticed that I had become "brainwashed" in was religion. Apparently, my entire life I've been exposed to only one religion. Books that I read, music I listened to, friends that I had; they were all christians.

"I have been brainwashed into thinking that certain brands are better than others, just because of the brand name, not because I have actually tried all the options to see for myself which one is better." I thought that christianity was the best brand, merely because of its name and it having been the only brand I was exposed to. I had not actually even considered other options, or weighted the christian brand with my "adult mind", rather than the "child mind" that will accept anything its taught. Even still, we all know it is quite difficult to change an opinion that you've held since a child.

It makes you wonder how many adult christians have actually made a conscious effort to evaluate their religious opinions instead of blindly following what their parents/environment taught (read:brainwashed). How many adult christians have legitimate reasons as to why they believe what they believe and can adequately defend their opinions. (Yes, those are important things to be able to do considering we're talking about eternity and the entire premis of a christian's life.)

What's great is that once you've made the difficult choice to evaluate your life without the "brand" bias, you can come to your own conclusions complete with reasons and defenses. It was the best decision that I have made so far as you can experience other cultures and religions throughout your research. FYI: buddhism is hard on the knees. More importantly, I was able to come to my own conclusion of which brand to choose and am quite confident in its validity and my faith.

I have included a link to the website of my faith:

Good luck to anyone else that has the honesty to admit they need to reevaluate.

Anonymous said...

ABOUT A18 said...
Interesting thoughts John. Then you have individuals like myself who were raised with the complete freedom to think and choose as he pleased. I too had the opportunity to research, try out, explore, etc. My conclusion is quite the opposite as you well know. I do find it strange that you assume that all those who hold to the Christian faith do so because of being "brainwashed" by parents, environment, etc. Are you serious? Surely you know that MANY in the church were not raised in it. That may be true for many but not all. To say that as an absolute is misleading and misinformed. I've been where you are. It wasn't worth the trip.

"I was able to come to my own conclusion of which brand to choose and am quite confident in its validity and my faith."

I'm glad I can say the same. What's sad is that I don't think you believe me. Although I completely believe what you shared. I've found those who become not just "non-christian" but "anti-christian" end up being the most intolerant and unteachable individuals I know.

I've met numerous individuals who are not christian but are willing to dialogue, discuss, and differ. Those who are "anti-christian" are rarely willing to do either one. They want to argue, attack, belittle, and scoff. Sad.

I'm glad you are having the chance to explore. It is one of the gifts of God. The ability to think and choose. Allow others to do the same.

In the end, I would argue that we are all "brainwashed". It just matters what "soap" you use.

I have included a link to the website of my faith:

Anonymous said...

One more thought, how WOULD you know if a person (be they Christian, Buddhist, Athiest, etc.) who was raised a certain way had ever stopped to analyze and think through the options out there? You insinuate that ALL Christians are brainwashed people and that ALL individuals who are raised to believe a certain way are brainwashed. HOW do you know they haven't already done what you have and have only affirmed their previous teaching? Seriously, you make some pretty general and absolute claims that you can't back up. Talk about brainwashed...