If you belong to any religion that has a written history and you as a disciple are called to believe that what is written is a product of your prescribed god, then you have to deal with cognitive dissonance. How most people deal with it is they place an idea that causes a mental contradiction into a shoe box and slide it under the bed.
I am not an exceptional man. I have had moments of exceptionalism and I have witnessed exceptional events and I have traits that are above average and others far below. I can’t fix a lawnmower as I’m not particularly skilled with my hands. I can’t play guitar despite many hours of practice. I can; however, see deep into the thoughts and motivations of others. I’m not particularly gifted at providing sympathy as my own emotions frighten me when they reach outside my own mind, but I am capable of feeling great empathy though I may not share it through words or actions.
We have an amazing capacity to take in sensory information of the world around us. In any given millisecond, we are receiving billions of data points to assess our environment. From the temperature of our skin to the pressure of our feet resting on the ground while we sit, the stimuli that is being collected both consciously and unconsciously is astounding.
I once had an intimate relationship with someone that handled conflict by revising occurrences to suit their narrative. I still must maintain a relationship with this person due to circumstances and it makes life near impossible. The frustration this involves can send a Tibetan monk whose taken a vow of silence into a tirade of expletives.
2014 was the year of mindfulness, 2015 the year of gratitude. Overlaying both was the idea that we should fail and fail often and fail early. However, it struck me this morning as something more than a simple intellectual assent that there is no such thing as failure.
Christian Calvinists and rational materialists have one thing in common, they both deny the concept of free will. The Calvinist believes an omniscient God directs our every breath while the materialist considers our decisions the manifestation of our brain directed by genetics and formative past experiences. Strange bedfellows, indeed.