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Whom are you going to believe if you keep lying to yourself?

With his well-known humor, Mark Twain once asked, “Whom are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?” That question, with all its hilarity, is not as innocent as it looks because, after all, we see with our brains, not with our eyes.

Anais Nin expressed a similar thought when she said, “We don’t thing as they are. We seem them as we are”. Study after study have shown that indeed we see things as we are, meaning that our daily lives, our circumstances, and our internal processes both limit and modify what we see and understand.

For example, we only see the past, but we live at a time when the future is no longer a continuation of the past. And we see everything through the lenses of our prejudices and ignorance. So, despite our good intentions, true reality escapes us and the reality we created for ourselves becomes, obviously, the only reality.

Twain was right in saying our own eyes deceive us. And Nin was right in saying we only see ourselves, but we think we see things. This is not just idealism or solipsism (but it could well be), but something practical: we put ourselves as the measure of all things, as Protagoras famously said.

Indeed, since ancient times we are urged to reflect about our own ideas and beliefs, to acknowledge the limits or our knowledge, to know that we know nothing (Socrates), to accept that most, if not all, of what we assume we know is just repetition of something we were told or we heard, but not something we have thought or analyzed by ourselves.

As a result, we are trapped in the paradoxical reality of living inside our own “world” and, at the same time, roaming without a destination, as a ship being pushed by the storm in the ocean, or as a blade of grass moving from one side to the other according to the direction of the wind. Living without a purpose is not really living.

Even worst, many studies said that we then pass all those problems and limitations to the next generation, not understanding that the next generation will face a different (transhuman?) future. They will face challenges we never faced, and we can’t even imagine. In other words, our “gift” for future generations is preventing them from being part of the future.

Recent studies done in Scotland say that parents mainly share three “elements” with their children: depression, uncertainty (about one’s future), and poverty (materially and financially speaking.) It is not surprising, then, that in many places in the “civilized” world suicide, not car accidents, is not the main cause of death among children and young adults (10 to 24 years old.)

Our Paleolithic brain and our Medieval institutions are almost useless in the context of God-like technology (Edward Osborn Wilson, American biologist). So, we need to stop believing in our lying eyes and we need to open our internal eyes to see what is really happening.

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