Bliss Of Being : Our Natural State

On Being Dogmatic

By Wayne Hoover

I just read this great blog post called: A Vegan No More. Basically it stated how a vegan of 3 years became ill and her path to how eating meat eventually cured her of her illness. I also found the comments on HackerNews quite thought provoking (as usual) in that no one there was arguing for the vegan side- most people on HackerNews were of the eat-a-little-meat-as-long-as-its-organic philosophy- which is quite a different point of view from what I normally find myself in.

I wasn’t going to write about this until someone mentioned in passing tonight that I was dogmatic about my diet- so I want to talk about that general theme of being dogmatic.

To quickly give my thoughts on nutrition while we are on the topic; I believe that nutrition is a pseudo-science at best- no one can tell you what is “best” and I believe that no one can ever know what is best for you. Only you can know what is best for you.

I am for self investigation- for observation- and deductions based on your own proven experience- especially in the realms of nutrition. Here is a great youtube video my friend and housemate did that explains it well: The Raw Food Diet Exposed

But what about this idea of being dogmatic- of being so tightly coupled to your ideology that you fail to see any other ways of doing something. Dogmatism leads to fanaticism which is basically a way of quickly discrediting all other conclusions on the topic- no matter what.

Dogmatism as we can all agree- historically- doesn’t lead us to good places. It leads to things like eugenics- and religious fundamentalist wars. At its core dogmatism is dualistic- its inherently us vs them. “Us” who are somehow right- and “them” who are somehow wrong.

There have been countless essays on why fundamentalism or dogmatism should be avoided- and interestingly enough there have been countless essays on why dogmatic fundamentalism should be embraced.

Contrary to how this blog might be going- I do not advocate for or against dogmatism. To take either side would fall into the same dualistic whole from which the “problem” of dogmatism arises.

I am reminded of a quote by Einstein:

“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”

We can not solve this problem of dogmatism by arguing for or against one or the other- that in itself quickly turns dogmatic.

To me there is no one train of thought- there is no one logic- there is no one way- no one book- etc- that can encapsulate the Truth.

“The Tao that can be spoken is not the Tao.”

Everyone has their own truths- everyone has their own experiences. All routes are correct and all routes are incorrect. This is not because there can be no Correct. Correct does not exist- yet it does exist at the same time. icon smile On Being Dogmatic

In sum I am trying to show that truth is relative. Dogma might be correct for a time- it might be helpful- and for a time it might not be helpful. It even might be helpful to follow some other contradictory dogma- for a time. This is the world that we live in seemingly full of contradiction the moment you try and define Truth.

Really there is no use to try and argue for one point or another. Sometimes your point will be correct and sometimes it will not. You can get all fanatical about any argument but its not going to last long- truth just can’t be defined like that.

So lets realize the nature of our own fanaticism- our own dogma- our own beliefs that we all hold. Fundamentally- all our beliefs are and can never be the whole truth.

All truths that can be explained are all partial truths. The key is just to keep that in mind.

Yes we can experience the full truth- in fact we are experiencing truth RIGHT NOW. Right now- the real moment of power- is where the only real truth resides. Dwell there. Really the issue only comes up when we try and talk about the truth- or write about it- or somehow encapsulate it. You must experience it- we can only point to it- and we will point in a hundred thousand different ways- forever- pointing at that which is here and now.

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