posted on Jul, 11 2006 @ 04:15 PM
dgtempe, thank you for the interesting description of the events that helped to shape your paradigm, the experiential aspect that, well, makes you --
you. One's childhood, one's developmental years are certainly a vital aspect in not only the way you experience events (the Bay of Pigs, for
example) but in how you view them. Interesting.
Asking myself "how I know what I know" began about twenty years ago. I was in my thirties when I decided to re-read some books that were
interesting but had sat untouched either on shelves or in boxes that had been tucked away in basements, attics etc. Some of Ayn Rand's work were in
the "re-read" pile. The question of how one knows what he or she "knows" and how that knowledge effects their life (and how that knowledge could
be manipulated to affect --- and control -- your life was raised.
Knowing "what I know" certainly must being in my childhood, my culture, my religion. The interaction and the relationship that I had with my
parents, my sibling, my friends, my neighbors, teachers and acquaintances all played a role in shaping my life, my thinking and perception. They all
were the initial 'programming' that shaped the way my brain takes in information. Like a computer, the information is really just that,
information, it is essential to properly file information into categories. In humans, these categories would be things like "likes" and
"dislikes", "right" or "wrong", "good" or "evil", "sin", "not a sin". How else explain how 'intelligent" people, given the same
information, the same facts exactly, can take differing opinions on topics. Perhaps there are many other reasons that would enter this, but the
shaping of one's perceptions can reflect in one's adult actions and beliefs, indeed, entirely affecting the way one perceives 'any' information at
Besides childhood experience, what other aspects have shaped your opinions, your beliefs? In fact, what other factors have affected the way you have
come to "know" what you "know".
For myself, a powerful factor was in my culture. Culturally, I am a Lithuanian. Though I am an American citizen living in Canada, I consider myself
a Lithuanian; not as my government, not as some sort of label. I am Lithuanian , not as a nationalist but, rather, because those are "my people".
It's as simple as that. Because of this, I carry some of the prejudices of my people who have come to "know" their cultural history through their
own, collective, paradigm. In this cultural cauldron, a strong aversion to Russian Imperialism throughout the ages and especially during the Stalin
Communist era. Today, I have a deep distrust and I can easily develop and ask any number of questions, in a conspiratorial bent over issues actions
and statements that the "new" Russia makes. Coming from that culture, I was raised to be an All-American kid who sincerely BELIEVED "in Truth,
justice and the American Way". I bought the whole enchilada, "hook, line and sinker". Why? Because my parents accepted the entire American Dream
entirely. The entire Lithuanian community that composed the social world of my childhood also had entirely accepted and incorporated that promise of a
country whose "streets were paved in gold". And you know what, for them, it was an answer to their dreams and if it was a grand delusion, it was a
good delusion for them. It was better than the nightmare of their 'wartime' memory -- as individuals, as a culture, as a people. And their beliefs
became my own.
I probably would have lived my entire life out happy, content, in this belief. The information that the United States gave me was sufficient. Their
point of view was MY point of view. Then the Viet Nam war made me question -- deeply. Even though I found myself in constant odds with my own
principles -- principles that were "good-old fashioned American, apple pie, 'Mom' and the 'girl next door', they were confronted by a reality
that was difficult to accept, understand. My government "lied" to me. And those lies seemed to compound every time the government did anything --
anything -- it seemed. Now I find myself questioning -- everything.