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It's in the Neurons

I often wonder what makes some people espouse strong beliefs more than others or what it is that makes an individual, a group or a society attached to a particular belief system.  More importantly, why, when faced with a difference of opinion or a different belief system, the reaction is very strong, often emotional and even physical as well as violent. 

For example, some people are actually demanding that the atheist civil servant from West Sumatra should be beheaded for committing blasphemy.  Which is basically saying that they honestly believe that in a society that demands you to conform to an unquestioning belief in a supernatural being, atheism is a real and physical threat to the unity of the society and therefore must be eradicated.

As a matter of fact, we ourselves, often feel a negative reaction when we encounter opinions and views that greatly differ to ours on practically any topic, from religion, politics, to favourite celebrities and football teams;  whether at the dinner table that turns into a shouting match, or in the boardroom during meetings that degenerate into clashing arguments of stubbornly held views.   


Who Am I?

Photo by Desi AnwarIn a recent discussion someone asked why should we bother over things such as trying to know ourselves better?  In turn he was asked, what is more important in life than attaining self-knowledge, knowing oneself?  I could not agree more.  

Yes, there are many things in life to devote oneself to, such as getting an education, having a career and earning a decent salary, raising a family and hopefully being a person of some use to society.  As a matter of fact, I’m sure for a lot of people simply trying to get by in a highly competitive and challenging world, is already a difficult enough task they have to face in their lives without having to ask a question whose answer is as elusive as the question itself.
But the question must be asked.  ‘Who am I’ and ‘Why am I in this world?’  Questions whose answers would lead one to the quest of finding one self and achieving self-knowledge.  Without pausing to ask these fundamental questions about our existence, life could only be shallow, lived on the superficial level, like taking part in a school play and yet not knowing what role you have to play.  

Worse.  You don’t even realise you’re in a play, thinking that the role is your true self.  That the play on the stage is your life.  You have no idea who you really are, let alone who the author of the drama is.  Stay on the stage long enough, sooner or later you will feel that there is something incomplete about your character, something odd and aimless, something missing.  

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