Dogs and moms??? Everywhere???? Well, my half-ass attempt at getting you to click this link worked. What I’d like to share with everyone is this idea of “Dogma” or ” Dogmatism” which Dictionary.com defines as ” a principle or set of principles laid down by an authority as incontrovertibly true.” Dogma is prevalent throughout the human population and spreads like a virus, multiplying exponentially with every conversation, Facebook post, tweet, newspaper article, instagram post etc. Still don’t get it? Steve Jobs explains it best during his 2005 Stanford Commencement speech:
” Don’t be trapped by dogma which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your inner voice.”
Of course it’s easy for some to say ” I don’t care what other people think” but that statement would just be ignorant. In reality, every single one of us has dogma lurking beneath our thoughts. We are all analyzing situations, opinions, images given by others, internalizing them, and then regurgitating them. The extent to which we allow dogma to control our thoughts depends on the person. Here are a few examples:
Little six-year old Johnny loves playing the violin and has the natural ability to re-play songs that he can hear. He someday wants to inspire an audience of 100,000 by playing Beethovan’s Opus 131 String Quartet. Mommy tells Johnny that musicians don’t make money and that he should pursue something more ” realistic.” Little Johnny loves Mommy so he decides to forgo his dream and pursue something else more realistic so he becomes an accountant.
Scouts tell Tom Brady that he lacks arm strength, is too skinny, too slow to play quarterback in the NFL. Tom disagrees. The Patriots draft him in the 6th round as a backup to Pro- Bowl quarterback Drew Bledsoe. Bledsoe gets hurt. Brady takes his spot and keeps it for the next 13 years. He goes on to win three Super Bowls and is a future Hall of Famer.
Chad, a skinny, short teenager, has been eye-ing Rachel for awhile and finally musters up the courage to ask her on a date. However, he isn’t sure if she’ll say yes. In an attempt to gain information, he asks his friends to tell him about Rachel. His friend Bob tells him that he’s heard that Rachel’s been hooking up with Billy pretty frequently but in reality, they’ve only hooked up once. His friend David tells him that Rachel likes tall, buff guys and has never had a history with Chad-type’s. Chad decides that Rachel will not say yes and chooses to not even approach her. In reality, Rachel always found Chad cute.
Nick was fascinated with stars and one day discovered that the sun was the center of the solar system, not the earth. However, there was a wide-standing, concrete belief that the earth was the center of the universe. Nobody ever questioned it. When Nick introduced his theory, nobody believed him and the church even shunned him for creating such nonsense. We all now know what’s actually true.
In Steven D. Levitt’s “Think Like a Freak”, he states that the three hardest words in the english language are ” I don’t know.” People don’t like to seem incompetent, dumb, stupid, retarded or any other insult they may receive for not knowing an answer. They then come up with these extravagant reasons that justify their own, personal beliefs which is not a reflection of reality. As a result, people present their beliefs as”facts” in areas outside their expertise which then results in the world’s longest game of telephone. These “facts” are not backed by any real evidence except your ego yelling out loud: ” YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY 100% RIGHT!” Going back to the examples, how does Mommy know what is “realistic” or “unrealistic” for Johnny? How do scouts know that Brady would not be a successful quarterback? How do Chad’s friends know so much about Rachel’s personal life? Everything they “knew” was not true.
Dogma hinders growth of our society. One hundred years ago, if you told me that somebody could flick a switch and bright lights would come on I’d think you were crazy. Fortunately, Thomas Edison didn’t think so. One hundred years ago, if you told me that I could sit on some object and it would carry me from London to New York in six hours, I’d say you were being”unrealistic.” Fortunately, the Wright brothers didn’t think so.
Don’t immediately discredit your parents, teachers, professors, friends but don’t hastily believe everything you are told. Your friend tells you that girl is a bitch, find out yourself if you truly feel that girl is a bitch. Your friend says that Outkast isn’t good live, find out yourself if Outkast is truly terrible live. Be able to filter bullshit. Find information out yourself. Nothing is ever absolutely 100% true.
If you want to do something. Do it. You know what’s best for yourself. Don’t let others convince you otherwise.