Friday, 2 January 2009

Do we have ideas, or do ideas have us?

Right, we obviously like to think that humans are the center of the universe, much like thinking the sun and the planets, indeed the whole universe, rotates around OUR planet, but here is a little problem that has just occurred to me: ideas seem bigger and more dominant than humans, with humans just forming little parts of an idea. Let me explain...

When we are born we largely inherit beliefs of our parents, for example, if your parents happen to believe in creation as opposed to evolution you will likely do the same. So the idea was inherited, you didn't create the idea, you were born into it. Beliefs like this are also self-sustaining, controlling your interpretation of evidence: if you believe in creation you are likely to dismiss evidence for evolution and visa versa. Now add this to the fact that often ideas control how people live their lives and you have to start asking who is the boss!

An idea may be formed of millions of people, controlling all of them to an extent, might pass itself from one group of people to the next, have its individual participants develop and spread it, will resist its members transferring from one ideology to another.

Of course this doesn't just apply to religion but to all ideas, often with the bigger the idea the bigger its power. All is dependent on what information or ideas you come in contact with and often there is little choice - it depends on the community you were raised in and the media you come in contact with. It also seems very unlikely for anyone to know enough information to be able to choose for themselves and be unbias enough to choose freely between ideologies.

So which is bigger and more in control, our ideas or us that hold the ideas?

It would seem often it is the ideas; often, but not always.

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