Conditioning and Consciousness

Conditioning and Consciousness November 7, 2022

Photo by Eman Genatilan

Very much of how we navigate this life could be attributed to the culture of our homeland, the religion of our parents, and the friends we hang out with. If we were born in a different place, we might be exposed to different religious influences, and had different friends, we would most likely believe and act differently. A podcast I listened to yesterday described it as “the water we swim in.”

These influences are accepted by us unconsciously. Some of it is intentional in the people that influence us. For example, religious indoctrination is fairly intentional by some groups like Western Christianity. But, we receive most of this conditioning unconsciously through our church, culture and broader society.

As we move out of our families of origin, communities, and cultures, we are exposed to other belief systems, cultures and world views. Also, our prefrontal cortex fully develops and we consciously start moving in new directions.

This upsets people that are very dogmatic about their religion and culture. And they blame it on things like colleges and the devil and whoever they don’t like. But much of what we call deconstruction may be attributed very simply to leaving some of our conditioning behind that we received unconsciously as we become more conscious of the world, our beliefs, and the broader culture.

I don’t know–maybe in the old days we could control what everybody thought and practiced by keeping them in the tribe–keeping them close. But things like the internet have opened up other cultures, beliefs and world views to us and now we are able to be more conscious about where we are headed personally.

Christians make a big deal about the logos, sometimes translated as the “word.” John says that Jesus is the word and Christians wrongly say that the Bible, which was compiled centuries later, is the “word” of God. In my opinion, that is not a very logical decision and is more like retrofitting modern ideas to an ancient book.

John probably borrowed the idea of the logos from the Stoics of his time. They understood it to mean a sort of basic reason, or logic, of how things came to be.
In the beginning, was this reasoning, and John thought that Jesus embodied that logic that is central to the universe.

I often describe deconstructing as evolution. There is a certain amount of tearing down what no longer serves us and that probably continues later in the process when we become more conscious of what doesn’t work and doesn’t make sense anymore. But inherent in this process of progress is the basic reasoning or logic (logos) that seems to permeate the universe.

In my mind, we have a simple choice. And it’s not between the denominations we have created in Western Christianity or even around the world. The choice is between blindly accepting the conditioning that has been passed down to us or becoming more conscious of the logos of the universe.

I believe if we choose the later we will continue to evolve and our world will become better. It may be just as simple as that. I didn’t say it would be easy. There will be healing, growth, struggle and things that are hard to understand; but consciousness and the logos leads us in the right direction.

In our book, Out Into the Desert, we encourage people to do an evaluation, especially of organized religion and the conditioning they inherited. We encourage you to consciously consider your own journey and how you will approach the conditioning you received.

We hope you join the conversation with us!.

Be where you are,
Be who you are,

Karl Forehand

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