There are many beautifully worded exhortations available to us that call upon us to do the right thing.
If a person can appreciate these nice words they can easily identify with the message, see themselves reflected in it, assume that because they have been inspired that the words have improved them somehow.
How often do inspiring words contain a recipe? How often do they account for our tendency to identify with a message without integrating it?
We have been washed in noble ideas for millennia. We think we should be kind, just, compassionate, brave, honest, open, but how often do the words posted on social media show us why we fail, and how to embody these virtues?
Part of the issue is that we see our own experience in the most detail. We experience our pain our pleasure first. We see through our perception of events but not what those perceptions leaves out. The privacy of our experience combines with the egoic need to be valued, and the result is that people believe they are right regardless of their role in what is happening.
I’ve seen people on both sides of the mask vs. no mask, freedom vs. safety debate post about cognitive dissonance to discredit the people they disagree with. “Boom, here it is proof that we are right and they are wrong!”
Tweet-sized rhetorical ammunition about “gas-lighting”, “virtue-signaling”, straw-man arguments, delusion, brainwashing. Very often these are aimed in the opposite direction as if these apply to a type of person—conveniently, the people one disagrees with.
So clearly, insight about what we should or shouldn’t do is not enough. Is the bias of the ego inevitable? Will we be stuck in a mutually exclusive fight for truth forever?
The Endless Mirror shows how to observe egoic reflexes in ourselves, and loosen their hold. Until this practice of awareness becomes integrated into the culture as a whole, we will continue to remain deadlocked, bemoaning “human nature”, firing off self-righteous memes, and breaking down the empathy that is a subtle but necessary requirement for understanding, and coming together.