Monday, 18 May 2015

Letting go of ideology

An ideology is a collection of beliefs about the world and how it works. Our ideologies often go unexamined because they were picked up when we were young, and now run like programs in the background of a computer, subconsciously guiding our decisions. When deconstructed the beliefs that make up out ideologies are often false.

For example I have the belief that it's 'bad' to put toxic chemicals on the earth or ourselves. But when I look closely at this belief I find that it’s actually not true. Sure, from the perspective of our human life it matters whether the soil and water is polluted, and it matters if we harm ourselves and the other creatures on our planet. But with a wider perspective on time and space we see that it doesn't matter at all. The universe is a kaleidoscope of different atoms connecting and then separating, creating all the various forms of matter around us. That shampoo running down into the soil will eventually split into its component parts at the molecular level, one joining a tree, the next becoming part of a complex soil colloid. It does not matter what I do in my short life, the process continues unimpeded.

Yet, although I know this, I’m still attached to the ideology of sustainability and its doctrines, so my thoughts and behaviour are inconsistent. To prove my loyalty to the ideology I still find myself participating in critical discussions about 'the things that are wrong with the world', even though I don't think there is anything ‘wrong’ with the world at all! On the other hand, I increasingly rebel against the constraints I've created for myself and act in ways that are out of alignment with the ideology. Then I feel like a hypocrite and am filled with guilt and self-recrimination.

And from here flows a positive torrent of judgemental thinking! Because I judge myself I project this out onto others and feel judged by them too! Seeing through the ideology I find myself judging others who adhere to it, yet also judge those who live free of the ideology because my mind is so thoroughly programmed by it. My judgement is also motivated by jealousy at the freedom others have chosen... I want this freedom for myself!

All this unnecessary anguish! Time to let it go...

This doesn’t mean I'll now fill my cupboards with toxic chemicals and start spraying the weeds in my garden. I'm a sensible human being. I can see this is not intelligent. But neither is spending valuable time worrying about it, or feeling guilty every time we eat meat or processed food, drive a car or buy a new kettle. So much energy wasted! Easier to let go and allow things to be as they are. Allow others to believe and live as they like. And most importantly, allow myself to live as I like. So that if I want to became an old lady with rainbow streaks in her hair I can :)

1 comment:

Jaanika Riiel said...

I am just a little step behind you with all those thoughts. Thank you for spelling them out :)