Experience isn’t a measure of truth. Your experience is the sum of your expectations, less the health of your awareness and level of consciousness. Effectiveness is a much better measure of truth. ― Guru Tua
Truth is a slippery subject. It depends on how you define or measure it. People find security in believing they know the truth. Once they believe something, they form an opinion about it. However, a good deal of often fail to investigate the facts that support their beliefs.
Experience isn’t a Measure of Truth
Many scientists, freethinkers, and philosophers agree. We only perceive what we expect to see. Our mind’s eye is like a camera. This camera has a lens and several filters through which we perceive reality. What we expect to see with this camera depends upon the clarity of the lens in the camera.
The more defects in the camera and its lens, the more distorted the picture. Therefore, our experience is a representation of the health and clarity of our mind. Several things affect this camera of our minds-eye. Our experience is not a measure of truth. It is the filter of our minds.
Effectiveness is the measure of truth that depends on the condition of the instrument. If the instrument of our perception is not accurate, we can not see reality. What is the instrument of perception and what affects it?
The Things that Affect Perception
We are born with default settings of personality and instinct. These are default filters that provide a connection to consciousness. However, on top of these, we have the cultural narrative present in society. No matter where you live, you are subject to various types of programming. This programming could be religious or political propaganda.
These sources program thoughts, beliefs, and values. This programming teaches us what and who to value, or who and what to hate. So, what we experience should not be mistaken for an accurate representation of reality. What we perceive isn’t a measure of truth.
Without a doubt, our cultural programming is the most influential to our perception. To function within the culture where we live it’s necessary to adjust or at least appear to conform to the values.
Negative cultural programming has a negative effect on the health of our awareness and consciousness. The more distorted the cultural narrative, the more this affects our perception. These distortions have a negative influence on our overall health and wellness.
Mental and Stress disorders are rampant in a society where the cultural narrative supports inequity. Inconsistencies and prejudices are harmful.
It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.
― Jiddu Krishnamurti
What this means is that what we experience isn’t a measure of truth. What we “think” and what we value are tainted by the above filters. And, as we mentioned before, the filter that corrupts the picture the most is the cultural programming. This thing we call “religion” is responsible for most of the cultural programming which overlays our societies.
Religion as a Filter of Reality
Religion is by far the largest contributor to cultural programming. However, not all religions are the same. Some religions have a positive effect on the individual and the culture. For example, Taoism and many forms of Paganism promote the fair treatment of all people and the environment.
Other religions promote their moral superiority, values, thoughts, and the justification for violence. These types of religions are harmful to society as they hold back scientific progress and social equity. They promote boundaries that have an adverse effect on our ability to reason.
If effectiveness is the measure of truth, these religions would fail in several ways. They are not effective in promoting positive inclusive values. They do not have a positive effect on the culture or the advancement of humankind. They are absent from any position on protecting the basic rights of people or the environment.
Western Religion The Abrahamic Tree
On the other side of the scale, we find the ideologies of the Abrahamic religions (1). These are the traditions of Semitic origin, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. These systems promote moral superiority to dictate thoughts, values, and justification for violence.
Unfortunately, they also have the greatest level of social mass and integration. So, even if you are not a follower, you are more than likely still affected by the colossal social reach of these paradigms. The level of influence depends upon how much social integration they have within your culture and your life.
Religion is addictive, it promotes several social and psychological aberrations. They use self hypnosis and group hypnosis or groupthink Manipulation to promote prejudice and bias. It manifests in the following types of distortions:
- Chosen one Mentality
- Illusions of Invulnerability
- Unquestionable Beliefs
- Rationalizing Violence and Discrimination
- Perpetuates Ethnic, Racial, and Gender Discrimination
- Demonizing Any Source Exposing its Inconsistencies
- Afterlife Rewards for Believers Only
The bottom line, you can see how Western Organized Religion is the most prolific filter of perception. It’s the dirt on the minds-eye distorting thought and values. This is why it is so important to learn how to question the cultural narrative.
Intelligence is not a Deterrent
Intelligence alone is not a deterrent against the onslaught of cultural programming. The more you expose yourself, the more susceptible you become. Negative cultural programming targets two groups in the population, children, and those in crisis.
The young are easy to indoctrinate. Unfortunately, this is a common practice. Young minds are easy to program, especially by those they trust. Children trust their parents and adults who appear to have their best interests in mind. Adults teach them not to touch fire and to be careful near places where they could fall. The adults they trust also immerse themselves in the doctrine and dogma of religion.
Children born into families with deeply held religious beliefs nearly always become converts. They receive instruction from an early age. No freedom of choice. No other worldviews are available.
Children have no other frame of reference. Children are less likely to distinguish fact from fantasy, so it is easy for them to mistake mythology as fact. The people they trust would certainly only tell them the truth, right? The need to believe becomes ingrained as part of individual identity. Believing their religion becomes a necessity, not a choice.
Some people believe that subjecting children to religious programming is child abuse. Richard Dawkins noted scientist is of this opinion. Others believe that as long as there is no clear harm to the child it is not child abuse. It is simply the structured indoctrination of established tradition.
People in Crisis…
The other large population susceptible to religious programming are those in crisis. People find religion when vulnerable because when you are vulnerable are easier to brainwash. It doesn’t matter what the crisis.
The crisis could be financial, emotional, or health. It doesn’t matter. Religion is there to lend a helping hand. It’s waiting to make converts because believers eventually make them paying customers. You pay with money and with conformity to religious stereotypes they provide. Once they obtain a critical mass of the population, then they can program any agenda.
Consequently, we see that the need to believe ― overcomes reason. Many people live in cultures dominated by these paradigms. So, appearing like you are a part of the crowd is not just a way of life, it’s a necessity.
Effectiveness is A Better Measure of Truth
The weird part is that what we experience is also affected by the act of experiencing. This means we are also a reflection of our experience. In other words, what we experience isn’t something external or separate. As we “experience it” we are in effect changing it.
So, our experience isn’t a measure of truth. Our experience is the result of our relationship with the immediate environment. It’s a choice. We can act and be a positive influence where ever we are. Consequently, we can be a conduit for the virtues of the spirit rather than the negative aspects of the cultural narrative. Through these virtues, we discover our personal truth.
History shows us that religion fails in its mission. It does not bring about positive change in society. It does not present any effective tools to change consciousness. Its practices are predatory. Its underlying aim is to create and sustain cash flow.
What we need are tools that help us make positive changes. Several ancient technologies have a positive effect on our instrument of perception. If something produces the desired result, it is effective.
Effectiveness is the measure of truth only if we can find an objective way to measure them. And, the processes of spiritual exploration stand up to the test of science. They are repeatable and measurable. Many produce unique physiological changes. These include extremely low heart rate and blood pressure. So, there is measurable proof of their effects. They do not require belief in religious doctrine. So, everyone who can follow a process can use them.
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(1) Abrahamic Religions, Wikipedia
(2) Joseph Campbell & Joseph Campbell’s book The Hero’s Journey, Wikipedia