It is easy to see how the beliefs of other people are shaped by their culture, upbringing, education, and genes (apparently). It is harder to appreciate how the exact same applies to my own way of looking at the world. If I get annoyed because other people believe X, it is because I’ve been indoctrinated to see things this way.
Let’s face it, the shit in our head is mostly stuff we didn’t choose to put there. Nobody asked me if I wanted to be born in Ireland, at least I don’t remember having such a conversation, yet so many of my beliefs and opinions are due to my nationality. If you had my life, you would think the exact same way as me, and the reverse is also true.
I can be as judgmental a dick as anyone else, but this judging always leaves a bad taste in my mouth. If people believe things that are annoyingly different from me, I can blame it on their culture, lack of education (or the wrong type of education), or a bad upbringing. These poor saps believe what they do because they have been brainwashed. But hold on a minute here – the reasons I believe what I believe is because I’ve been brainwashed too.
I don’t have that many memories before the age of seven, but I do remember how everyone I met interested me. I’d no opinions about people’s nationality, race, religion, sexual orientation, or any of that sort of bollocks – all of that shit came later. It was wonderful living in a world where people were just people, and when I didn’t look at lie through such heavy filters created by my later conditioning.
The internet has made it so easy for any one of us to climb up onto a soapbox to tell other people how they are getting it wrong. The comment section for online newspapers, or comments on web forums, are mostly about people trying to defend their own beliefs while attacking anyone who thinks different. Nobody stops to consider just how farcical the whole situation is – it’s like one person who is standing on a pile of shit who starts ridiculing someone else for standing on a pile of shit.
I think all of us are trying our best. The only real difference between my beliefs and someone else’s beliefs is our individual indoctrination. Sure, there are times when I might need to take a stand, but most of these arguments are just infantile. I’m sure most keyboard warriors think they are making the world a better place, by ridiculing the beliefs of other people, but it is really about their own insecurities and hang-ups – my shit smells better than your shit sort of thing.