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Witch hunt and sect behaviour or The ability to criticize yourself
It can appear mind boggling to realize how blind some people can turn out to be, you may show things right in front of them and they still would deny that there is something right there in front of them. Ever been in that situation? You may feel like being one-eye in the land of the blind. Ever experienced that? In the end you don't know what to say anymore, as there are no ears around able to duplicate what you say and the listener(s) will simply make up their own thing in their mind of the things you say. And then you get the thing they have thought up thrown right back at you, and they will say that this is what you have said. Not much of an argue then is there?
This phenomena you can see happening anywhere, but it appears more persisting in organizations and larger groups. Some may appear to have sucked into some kind of ideology so much that they are completely unable to take any kind of exterior viewpoint towards the own group, left aside any issues outside of that group. What you are facing here are agreements, a some kind of secret mostly unspoken code of behaviour and these are not to be questioned. You can talk like you want, you can say what you want and you can show what you want, but it appears all in vain. One gets the impression that some filter has been lifted all around them, and anything that goes through there then gets distorted in some way. The horror is that they themselves do not see that this way! They are convinced that they are in full control of themselves and everything all around them. You do not reach these individuals, they are totally convinced they have right, and indeed they may even be right. But any criticism uttered to them, any question mark placed which may somehow appear contradicting or questioning the adopted doctrine can be met with indeed very hostile responses. When you oppose to them it may happen that you almost instantly will be looked upon as an enemy, for them you've become someone who is standing on the other side. There is no place for questions, and there is no place for other ideas. Indeed you may be treated as this imagined enemy. You may get sneered at or ridiculed, you may get thrown at you that you do not belong to the mentally very bright ones, you may get threatened with expulsion or you may even be excommunicated.
There seems to be fear involved. Fear for what then? Are people afraid for being made wrong? Afraid to not belong to some group? To stand alone? Why should one fear that? If you can't express yourself as you feel or you are not allowed to ask questions you may have, and the other members of the group do not take kindly of all that, then are you in actual fact in an actual group? In such a group you would be standing alone any way, it's just a farce. Now what is the value of such a group if you only then will receive their support if you continuously say yes and amen to all what the group has taken as their dogma? Should one not be allowed to learn and grow in one's understanding? How can you come to any kind of true understanding if doors are not open for you to question things from time to time?
We all know about the book burns in Nazi Germany. So they did not allow you to read some things for whatever the motivation. In Catholic circles they also have this practice of having a forbidden books list. And if you find yourself in some kind of organization, club or any other small or larger group they also may tell you about the do and don'ts. Naturally we should live by some rules, but they should not limit or stand in the way of our development and our understanding of things. Rules like “Thou shall not kill” are pretty obvious. But forbidding people to read some book? Off course we can give some advice about some particular book, and then it's up to the individual to do as he believes is right for him. But do inform him! Anything should also be taken at some gradient. You are not going to read Homeros in the original old Greek, when you have just learned the Greek alphabet. For some this may be the right gradient, but for most it will definitely not be so.
We also do remember senator Joseph McCarthy who started to hunt down supposed communists during the mid-1950's with rather scandalous methods. History passed this on to us as McCarthyism. It is not so very different from all those thousands of women and also men who were tortured and burned for supposedly to have signed a treaty with the devil during those dark middle ages. This all did not happen so very long ago, are we so much different now? Are we still seeing witches flying on their broomsticks to the sabbath? Different time era's may express themselves in different ways, but is there not some line going through all of that?
The purpose of any information is that it will add to your knowledge and understanding. If you understand you can easily categorize information. You may say: “Hmm, this is useful. And that I can skip. But I don't know about this, hmm, I want to know more about that, let's check if I can find out some more about that.” But you do have to watch out, to be able to remain objective you have to analyze the information, you have to categorize it, you also have to be willing to consult contrary information as well, that is if there is any around. Sometimes the best way to find faults in your own conclusions about things is simply to honestly look at what those who criticize you have to say, this will give you some kind of exterior viewpoint. You surely should look upon that with a critical eye, but do remain objective, take it in a new dimension of time! We also have to watch persuasive writers. It may sound right in the way some information may be formulated, but this does not necessarily make it true! And sometimes sources for information have been given, and they may be false, and they may be misinterpreted by the writer as well. So please do watch out, check your information. Don't be like those who lost their objectivity and have no exterior viewpoint left. I have seen this in the Creation-Evolution controversy debates, Jehovah Witness bible studies, Krishnamurti education centers, but also within the Church of Scientology. What is important though, is what you do with the information. Don't let anyone tell you what is true for you!
(revised July 2006)
|Copyright © 2004, 2006 Michel
Snoeck. All rights reserved.
This page revised:
18 August, 2015