It is said that a brain‘s size positively correlates with its host‘s level of intelligence. The ability of human beings to use tools in very elaborate ways, to create art or to invent and tell stories to each other people, seems to prove certain supremacy over other creatures. As long as we won‘t have discovered supernatural life, humans regard themselves as being the pride of creation. Alas, we should start with Gnothi Seauton — Know Yourself — before solving global challenges.
Is it? Of. course, we all know, it‘s not. The mere capacity of wearing the biggest brains in the history of our planet does not seem to be a sufficient condition for either a peaceful, healthy, nor a stressless or happy life. Self-help books and often quoted old pearls of wisdom apparently suggest the opposite: those individuals who know less, who live far abroad, who own less, they would lead a healthier, happier and peaceful life. How do these observations go together?
A Contradictory World
We experience so many man-made contradictions each day: although there is common knowledge about many aspects of life, and although — thanks to the internet — this knowledge is available worldwide, people now and then behave as if this knowledge wouldn‘t exist. Without going into detail, we know that there is a huge climate change taking place, that we can‘t peacefully live together with the help of weapons, that we must not and don’t need to let people die because of hunger, that our planet’s ability of self-preservation is coming to its end, etc.. Yet still, we act as if we do not know all that.
We don‘t necessarily have to address the big problems. Actually, discussing global challenges is quite easy — none of us is responsible for solving these problems by herself. To solve them, we would need.….…and how long would that take!?
It makes much more sense to devote oneself to solve smaller problems — problems that occur around us, or — problems that occur or start in ourselves. These problems are so close that we can see them more clearly, and potentially in their entirety. This, again, would mean we could analyze these problems and find solutions to them. As discussed in my previous text, we know from neuroscience that situations — e.g. problems — don‘t exist in an objective way, but in our individual perception, only. And this seemingly obscure aspect is, in my view, at the center of the above mentioned schizophrenic behavior of human beings: all knowledge, all facts are individually interpreted and used for drawing very different conclusions from them.
Gnothi Season — Know Yourself: Consensus At The Level Of Consciousness
Intuitively, we try to prove to others that our views are based on facts — or — the „right facts“. That means, we imply that we could reach an agreement if only the other one would accept our fact-based arguments. I don’t believe this to be the best approach to reach conversational consensus — because of a certain impossibility of synchronizing our very disparate knowledge bases, views, and attitudes. I‘d rather suggest reaching consensus at a deeper level, at the level of consciousness. I assume that, at a very basic level, all human beings want the same: we all strive to meet our needs according to Maslow. However, we use different tools to achieve our goals.
How could a consensus at the conscious level look like? Let‘s look at a very common example of a conversational problem of today: A person (the sender) says something that, from the perspective of another person (the receiver), should not have been said because of its derogatory nature. If the receiver allows for the notion that the sender‘s original intent was. not to use a derogatory word, but she either was drunk or there were other circumstances that made her using this word, then the receiver could forgive — since she feels that the spoken word does not reflect the sender‘s original intent. Of course, forgiving is a lot harder if the receiver does not have the impression the sender acted in good faith.
Gnothi Seauton - Know Yourself
I believe that, if we first assume that people intend to act in good faith, and secondly we try to synchronize with them at the consciousness level, we will discover more common grounds than we imagine. We gain a higher level of understanding of others and their — formerly strange — behaviors. And we will improve our ability to accept the differences between ourselves and others. In the end, we are human beings and our basic needs are similar. Let‘s try to understand each other better. By doing this, we have turned towards a bigger problem than the above-mentioned world problems: we have addressed the mother of all problems: our self. Or, as the ancient greek had inscribed in the forecourt of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi -Gnothi Seauton — Know Thyself!