February 29, 2016
Had a great idea the other day, thought too hard and it went away… -“Ideas” by Mister Encrypto.
New information is welcome everywhere I go… “I’ve Been Dreaming” by Awolnation
The blurb I wrote about ideas has stuck with me the last few days. Put forth a couple concepts I wanted to expand on. One of the main things I’ve wanted to do since I revived this blog is to develop and flesh out ideas. Be it about the world, my writing, my art, my relationships… I’ve only really tried to put forth new ideas that add detail and understanding to myself and the world around me. I don’t have the lofty goals of changing minds or saving the world or anything–I just want to put forth some new ideas.
In the movie Dogma, Chris Rock’s character discusses the importance of having ideas over beliefs. It was a sentiment I always agreed with, in that ideas can evolve and change while beliefs get locked into a structure. In example, the idea of love and marriage has evolved so far beyond the traditional belief structure we have in place that it cannot possibly fit those constraints. People believe that marriage is between a man and woman, but the reality of the basic idea is that it cannot possibly be so simply squared away anymore.
Bit more of an exclusive United States problem is gun control. People believe that they have an undeniable right to own firearms, making the idea of any type of restriction on that unacceptable. As much as I would argue that there should be more gun control and that the Second Amendment most definitely allows it, I’m not unrealistic enough to believe that it will ever happen. People’s beliefs are so firmly entrenched that they have a right to own guns they don’t necessarily need and any ideas put forth contrary to those will be outright rejected. A belief structure does not change and this one has been reinforced over the past few decades. It will not change in one day, one week, one year or one decade. Maybe not even a century.
Beliefs formed reinforced over centuries are more dangerous than ideas if only because it prevents us from adapting with the world. Did the Founding Fathers foresee this country as one with the highest firearm fatality rate in the world? Probably not. Did they foresee Citizen’s United or Roe Vs. Wade or the diversity of human sexuality? Unlikely. They declared “Truths” to be self-evident, but they did not give these ideas the depth of scope to truly represent all the myriad of directions that they could go over the course of history.
People like to rely on belief structures. And ideas that attack that belief structure are generally resisted. That’s why I don’t expect too much from people, but at the same time expect everything from them. People believe what they want, but they have ideas all the time. Ideas that could change their whole perspective on what they believe. Having beliefs is not necessarily a bad thing, but there is a fine line between those being supportive and being a hindrance.
For a number of reasons, I try not to rely on belief and focus more on ideas. Religiously, I’ve described myself as an absurdist or agnostic. This is more because I like the concept of a myriad of possibilities and ideas. Plenty of religions have ideas I like. And a few I don’t. This isn’t to say I won’t “find God” or whatever someday, I just prefer the idea of ideas right now. Those ideas should not be restricted to a particular doctrine.
Overall, we are faced with new ideas and concepts every moment of everyday. Some will be good, some will be bad. Either way, they change people. Ideas cannot be feared. They are ideas. They need to be considered and shared. Regardless of whether or not they are embraced, they change things. They stay with us as we move forward and occasionally prove to be of use.