Information can be empowering and disempowering and what one person finds useful might not be seen in the same way by another. But with personal opinion aside, information is vital for the growth of an individual and for humanity as a whole. Without it, very little would change and regression, not progression, would be the only thing that could occur.
Although information is important and something that needs to be embraced; there has to be an element of discernment. This means that one wont doesn’t simply believe everything they hear or go to the other extreme and not believe anything that they hear.
To be too open is going to create problems and to be too closed is not going to be much better either. In the first instance, one might learn lots of things, but they will be wide open to anything and everything. And in the second example, one won’t learn anything new and could end up being stuck.
The Information Age
It has been said for many years now that we live in the information age. And this means that there is no shortage of information; as long as one has access to the internet or facilities that are often found in western countries. Such as a: library, book store, college, university, television and radio.
While there are clearly many benefits, there are also things that one has to watch out for. This is true of most things in life; where there are pros, there are typically cons. And when the quantity of something rises, the quality typically goes down.
As the world is full of information now, it is incredibly important for one to use their intellectual boundaries. But regardless of the current age and what this brings, the need to monitor what one allows into their mind has always been there.
Before the internet was around, one of the primary sources of information was the mainstream media. This was through: television, radio, magazines and newspapers.
Even though the mainstream Medias influence is not as strong as it once was for some people; it is just as strong as it has always been for others.
And what was expressed through these different sources was accepted as the truth back then and still is to this day. It is not questioned or weighed up against other factors or possibilities; it is seen as the absolute truth.
Fortunately, one can now hold in their mind what they have picked up and see how this matches up to other viewpoints on the internet for instance. Instead of internalising everything they hear and allowing it to become a belief that might define their life.
To be human means that one is not perfect and although some people are classed as experts in a certain area, it doesn’t mean that they will always be right. There might be the expectation that they are, but in reality this is not possible.
And yet just because someone is viewed as an expert or an authority figure, it can be taken as permission for someone to switch of and believe everything that this person comes up with. This is not to say that they have some kind of malicious intent and want to brain wash people.
Even if what they say is classed as right by some people, it doesn’t mean that it is right for everyone or that one shouldn’t question what they are hearing or reading.
These authority figures and experts could be: doctors, politicians, religious leaders, teachers, writers or journalists amongst other things.
To be wide open is not the ideal and neither is being completely closed off. Here, one will have walls up when it comes to new information or information in general. If it is coming from certain sources one might accept it, but if it doesn’t it could be blocked out.
So this could relate to someone who has always watched the mainstream news and when an alternate point of view is expressed, they dismiss or deny it. And this can relate to a whole host of mainstream ‘truths’ and outlooks. That can include different ideas on: health, relationships, happiness, success, wealth and nutrition.
There can be numerous reasons as to why someone would either believe everything they hear or have a closed mind. The current education system and the way news is presented play a big part in all of this.
When one is at school they are not always taught to question things and have their own opinions; what they are encouraged to do is believe all that they are told. And the same applies for the mainstream Media; people are often given the impression that there is only one perspective.
It could also begin during ones childhood and be the result how one was brought up. If one was validated for thinking for themselves, then this ability might develop. But if they were invalidated and rejected, it might have felt safer to not think and just go along with the views that were generally accepted. So they were not allowed to develop trust and confidence in their own ideas and views. Believing in others was the only thing that felt safe and was acceptable. As an adult, his might cause one to be over reliant on what other people think.
One might have had a caregiver who was very authoritative, controlling and domineering and as a result of this, one closed themselves off from external advice or suggestions. In this situation, one wasn’t allowed to develop trust in what others had to say, what others had to say was met with fear and suspicion. But while it protected them where they were younger, it is stopping them from taking in information from others.
The balance of being able to give and receive was affected by these experiences. It is also possible for someone to switch between the two extremes depending on the context.
The Ego Mind
To have a closed mind can be a way to avoid pain. For if one was to hear about an alternate view, it could result in them having to give up an outlook or identity that they have. The ego mind sees what is familiar as what is safe.
So this can mean that although something might not be helping someone, to the mind it feels safe. And if this were to change it would be interpreted as death. Of course one is unlikely to die, but the mind will react in the same way. What matters to the ego mind is keeping things familiar and not embracing the truth or what might improve one’s life.
And if one has always relied on what others think and has not come to trust their own discernment, it could lead to fear and a sense of uncertainty should one limit what they let in. This is what feels familiar and safe to their ego mind.
Having healthy intellectual boundaries allows one to question what they let in and to be flexible enough not to block everything out. And if one has always accepted everything or had trouble letting things in, developing this kind of boundary may take a while.
This is not to say that one needs to be perfect and or that they will always get this balance right. But over time one will notice a difference in what they let in and what they don’t allow into their mind.
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 26 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.