Wise in our own eyes
What “Question everything” is about (chapter intro):
In the same vein as my chapter on the Education of Zombies, by Zombies, I want to underscore the importance of questioning everything we hear, everything we’re taught, everything we “think” we know, and doing so on a regular basis. There are many people and “powers that be” that want us to believe things to be true…that aren’t. They have a strong interest in keeping us misinformed, dumb, and lazy. Their vested interests look a lot like power, money, and/or fame.
I can’t stress enough how vigilant we need to be in our consumption of news and information. We must always seek out multiple sources for our news and information, never relying on just one. A big reason for the world’s problems is that too many people “trust” the news that agrees with their own pre-formed opinions. We do this because it makes us feel validated, and comforted.
Well, I have a news bulletin for you: The truth doesn’t care if it validates your opinions or whether it comforts you. The truth simply is. No matter how hard you try, you cannot change truth to match your feelings and opinions. Sometimes you will like—and agree with—the truth, and sometimes you won’t. But you cannot change truth.
So question everything that crosses your path, because in our times there are many peddlers of fake truth. And by question everything I include questioning your elders, your teachers, your politicians, your pastor, even your parents. (Except my kids, they shouldn’t question their parents…) But in all seriousness, don’t take anything as absolute truth without at least checking several sources for yourself.
One of my greatest successes is that I managed to avoid entirely falling into the familiar path of the American Dream. Yet one of my greatest failures is that I did not avoid it entirely.
You know what I mean by the normal path so many Americans follow: finish high school, then maybe college, then career, then marriage/kids/house/bigger house, then you only truly “live” after the kids are grown and gone. I mentioned this “American Dream” in an earlier chapter. While I was forever tempted to slide into this familiar path, I was able to mark my own path in many ways. I fell into this false American Dream in many ways, but I was equally able to “do it my way,” to steal a note from the old crooner Frank Sinatra. I managed to enjoy much of life along my path, inserting adventure before and after college, and as much as possible as our kids were growing up.
I say this realizing, however, that I still could have done it so much better. I really wish I had more genuinely questioned that part of the “American Dream” that demands that we buy a house, and then a bigger house, just to keep up with the Joneses. My family and I could have experienced so much more of life if we hadn’t been slaves to the mortgage and all the idiotic responsibility required of home ownership.
If it is true that our millennial generation is realizing that this part of the American Dream is a stupid move, then I congratulate them. Looking back, I wish I had scoffed at this line of thinking as well.
A lot more misery, boredom, debt, pain, and unhappiness can be avoided if we just “question everything.” I’ll provide several examples of questioning everything in the next few pages in a random—and incomplete—list of things we simply must question. I could and probably should write an entire book just on this topic.
“There is more hope for a fool than for a man wise in his own eyes.”
~ Proverbs 26:12