#Thedress that made the world talk (and fight) about seeing things differently.

“The dress is black and blue!” “No it’s white and gold, you’re wrong!” “No it IS black and blue!!! Can’t you see it?! It’s right there!”

It’s fine to have fun arguing over #TheDress but people do the same thing all the time over things like religion, ideologies & opinions.

We have a society where difference – such as experiencing reality in different ways to the majority or experiencing intense emotions – is rejected and condemned and seen as pathologised or a biological illness. But our observations of reality are totally subjective, there’s literally no way two people can look at the same thing and have the exact same interpretation or know exactly what the other person sees. Even the people that agree the dress is white and gold can’t prove that they see the same shade of white and gold as another person.

Our eyes don’t see, our brains do. Brains, similar to computers are basically information processing systems. Everything we see, hear, taste, touch and smell in the external world, gets filtered into our brains. What we’re left with, gets interpreted using our memories, experiences, associations and personality. These interpretations are what create our ideas of ourselves (the “me”), our identities, our beliefs, opinions, thoughts, feelings and the reality we perceive. This is how the human brain has evolved, no doubt to help us survive better.

So what’s bad about this natural brain functioning?

Well the consequence is that we think our reality is the only reality, but “Our truth” isn’t actually “the truth” like we seem to believe it is. Our opinions and perspectives aren’t facts, but when you treat them like they are, problems and fights occur (racism, homophobia) and sometimes to deadly levels (religion). It’s so easy to assume the reality we see is the truth because we only have our own experience that cant be compared to anyone else’s experience from inside their head and lives.

For instance, an extreme opinion might be “gays are an abomination.” That is not a fact, that’s just that person’s opinion, so it would be more accurate to say “it seems to me that gays are an abomination, but what do I know? That’s just my opinion.” It loosens you up, opens you up to new ideas and people who might not deserve your hatred and judgement just for being themselves.

You also begin to believe you can control things outside of yourself to fit with your idea of reality and when you can’t, it makes you really upset/angry/stressed.

“Our maps of the universe, our ideas should be changing all the time…It’s the way children’s brains form before they are wrecked by the school system. It’s the way that all great scientists and artists work. But once you have a belief system, everything that comes in either gets ignored that doesn’t fit the belief system, or gets distorted enough so that it can’t get into the belief system…Anybody who has a belief system that covers the whole universe, that would be the Roman Catholics, Orthodox Islam, Scientologists, CSICOP, the Marxists, the Objectivists, and most of the assholes, well, what happened is, their brain stopped receiving new signals. Or to the extent that new signals do get in, they all have to be edited to fit into the belief system.” – Robert Anton Wilson

Robert Anton Wilson said don’t believe any one else’s BS (bullshit and belief systems) including your own, and I very much agree. This is because you’re believing an interpretation not a fact/truth. Similar to whether the dress is white and gold or blue and black.

“Reality is merely an illusion albeit a very persistent one.” – Albert Einstein

Reality is an illusion because we are illusions, our brains create us, not us. I believe we’re just clever enough to be aware of what it’s doing and think it’s us doing it.

Problems I’ve had when believing my own belief systems have led to low self esteem, believing I’m not good enough, and that other people know how to live life and that there is a way to live life that I’m not doing. This is destructive to me, I become jealous and really low. But it’s just a belief I have about myself, that has come into existence from experiences, memories, personality etc. It doesn’t mean it’s a fact. To question my beliefs about myself is liberating, like I suddenly realise I’ve been limiting myself, trapped in my own prison.

Problems I’ve had believing other people’s belief systems and opinions is, I doubt my own opinions and decisions. And think I’m doing something wrong or there’s something wrong with me because I’m not like them. Comparing all the time. Leading to more unhappiness and low self esteem.

It would be great if we were educated from a young age that everyone sees things differently and opinions aren’t facts, wouldn’t it?

I want to add that this is based on my own personal way of looking at things.

Things to practice fuelling your mind with:

•  Our perceptions aren’t reliable

•  Use “maybe” a lot more in speech to help us remember our opinions aren;t facts

•  Don’t believe any one else’s BS (bullshit and belief systems) including your own


I hope this had some value to you, and your mind is more full of meaningful, thought provoking stuff. If you enjoyed it, help me out and share it so other people can benefit/enjoy it too. Thanks.

Follow my blog by email on the top right hand side, and get inspiration, articles, videos and quotes on thinking, questioning, growing and learning about yourself, others, life and the world.

What would it be like to live a more liberated existence?

This is Simon Amstell’s live at the BBC ‘Numb’ show, he talks about all sorts of great things, including the part I’m choosing to focus on for this blog post:

He has some astute thoughts on the current human race and society today if he was to leap into the future and look back on us, in this time now. Our human history is full of oppression and close mindedness, and it’s mad to think that in hundreds of years from now we could live more liberated and open-minded lives. (The opposite to many films portrayal of the future like Hunger Games).

“Do you remember when people thought money was the answer, that money would make them happy, ‘If only I could just win the lottery, oh I have won it, oh I spent it all, the problem was internal.’ Remember when we had prisons, when we separated people into cages rather than giving them the love they needed that would have stopped all the crime. What about when religious people fail to remember that God is nature, there’s nothing more all-encompassing or wise than mother nature and athiests forgot that science is the study of nature, and then they both remembered and had amazing sex by a tree. Do you remember when people felt proud of where they came from, like it was something to do with them, it’s just where you happen to fall out of your mother’s vagina. If you’re going to have a flag, have a flag of a vagina, so then you can meet people and go ‘oh hi, where are you from? Oh same as me, let’s be friends.'” – Simon Amstell

In 2014 however, certain things shunt this development of higher consciousnesses, like the perpetuation of fear in the media to sell more papers, magazines & products and to distract us from what truly matters.

It makes me think of when we were all kids, did we care about where other people came from? Did we think money would make us happy, or anything else for that matter? We wanted things of course but not because it would make us happy, but because we just wanted them so bad in the moment, like cake or a certain toy. What if, we’ve lost our childlike wonder along the way to growing up and seeing things with judging eyes, and closed minds? I want to get some of that back.

Simon’s obviously watched some Bill Hicks when he says this: “Everything’s a choice between fear and love, we may as well choose love because death is coming.”

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I hope this had some value to you, and your mind is more full of meaningful, thought provoking stuff. What’s your opinion on the subject?

Follow my blog by email on the top right hand side, and get weekly inspiration, videos, quotes and resources on thinking, questioning, growing and learning about yourself, others, life and the world.

The oppressed, the underdogs, the misfits

A side effect or a price that we pay for having this self awareness, a higher consciousness is we have the ability to judge, bully and oppress others of our kind. I really think it’s a shame and small minded to do so. You would never see a tiger oppress a dog because it was different, it wouldn’t care at all if the dog was gay, female, mentally ill or a drug addict.

But us humans can be really mean, when really everyone wants to just belong, be accepted, appreciated and loved right?

Imagine if we could extend our empathy not just to our family and friends but to all humans and animals? It’s hard to live on this planet as it is. Empowering instead of judging…

“People can only live a happy life if they can live the way their brain has been programmed, and the state should accept that, and guarantee them the freedom to live that way so long as they don’t harm others. You should have the freedom to live as a homosexual, a transsexual, a heterosexual, and be protected by the state.” – Dick Swaab

We should stop obsessing so much about the differences and look at the similarities between us all.

Where oppression needs more empathy, compassion and understanding:

– Sexuality (gays, lesbians, bi-sexuals, a-sexuals, pan-sexuals…)
– Gender (male, female, transexual, transvestite, androgynus…)
– Race
– Drug addiction/abuse – legal and illegal
– Elderly
– Disabled
– Mentally ill
– Introverts
– Religious and non-religious types
– People who don’t belong in the justice system
– Honest people on the dole or benefits

– Did I miss any?

Anything that doesn’t fit the majority opinion of the population in at least western societies, gets cast out as weird and wrong and the rest are selected to be celebrated and pushed onto others. Is that more about them than us? – Just look at the way some straight people see gay people getting married as weakening the meaning of traditional marriage etc. Their identities and world views are tied to these outside things so tightly that for someone to come along and be different to that, makes them feel more insecure and challenges their identity.

Philip Seymour Hoffman has just died from a drug overdose, along with many other celebrities and people no one knows. Anyone can become addicted to drugs, you just have to have them available and have an addictive personality, or have lots of pain and suffering. How can we judge someone who is suffering or someone’s personality which they can’t control?

For the oppressors – you might be able to judge us and hate us, but control is an illusion, you can’t change what is inevitable and what is natural. Would love to hear anyone’s thoughts!

Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed it 🙂

Leaving you with two great songs around these subjects!
The world needs love:
And people need compassion and empathy, anyone could become homeless if they’re unlucky enough:

Model Cameron Russell on winning the genetic lottery

“I Felt very uncomfortable to come out here and say, look I’ve received all these benefits from a deck stacked in my favor and felt really uncomfortable to follow that up with, and it doesn’t always make me happy. Mostly it was difficult to unpack a legacy of gender and racial oppression when I’m one of the biggest beneficiaries.” An interesting perspective and insight into what can go on behind the fashion industry. Winning the genetic lottery is out of our control and can only be a good thing to come to accept about ourselves and others.

Why Can’t We Be Friends? By Smash Mouth

This song is like the opposite of what Hitler wanted…

“The colour of your skin don’t matter to me, as long as we can live in harmony.” “Why can’t we be friends?” Is a great question to ask, we’re all human and struggle through similar things, social constructs and judging people on their differences to you and boxing them away, could get in the way of an otherwise great friendship. Whether they’re a different age, race, gender, ability, intelligence or they’re just a sports fan, we’ve all got similarities we can connect to. It’s just human nature I guess, but it’s quite black and white thinking.

Maybe constantly looking for differences, breeds negativity, rejection and disapproval and in turn, looking for similarities breeds positivity, inclusion and acceptance? I know which society I’d rather live in!