Day 1999, out of habits.

Yesterday I wrote about Palestine and Israel, I did some more reading today and realized that in the world we live it will be hard to solve the problems they have over there. I am glad that having critique on Israel is no longer automatically associated  with you being an anti-Semite, as happened before. It is strange to read that well respected scientist, writers and historians are accused of being anti-Semites and how even Jewish critics of Zionism get accused of being traitors and much worse. There are more and more people critical inside Israel so that gives some kind of hope that the system slowly erodes, the only question is what there is underneath that thick layer of hate, fear and confusion.

I call myself a critical thinker or a skeptic. What for me the most important trade of a skeptic is, is to be skeptical like the word says, meaning that you don’t take the first answer you get from someone else or yourself for granted. The advantage is that you force yourself to find out if there is something wrong with what you assume and if there are alternative answers; the downside is that it takes time to get an answer and maybe you never get it.

The essence of the independent mind lies not in what it thinks, but in how it thinks.

Christopher Hitchens

There are many situations in your life that it is counterproductive to be skeptical. You can question your doctor but if you are bleeding to death, you better do what the doctor says. Sometimes the situation gets resolved automatically by you when, for example, you turn the steering wheel of your car so you don’t hit that wall but land in the ditch. In the first example you might be conscious but you realize that you have no time to question. In the second example the situation you are in happens so fast that there is simply no time to question your decision. I could give many more examples and they don’t have to fit in these two categories, they can be placed anywhere between them or before or after. Most of the situation you are in fall somewhere around these two examples, just think about all the things you do out of habit like putting your right shoe on your right foot. There was a time that you question the system and tried the right shoe on your left foot but that was probably the last time you did that. But you were a skeptic once and we all know how young children can be, they are the original skeptics.

So, there are a lot of situations in our life that we are not skeptical because it is simple not necessary or we accepted the answers and made them our habits. You don’t need to try out where the shoe goes every couple of years, that would be madness. But what you can question is why you always where sneakers, out of habit, even if it is raining. Maybe, one day you walk past a shoe store and see a pair of sturdy boots, maybe that will start you questioning the wisdom of wearing sneakers in the rain and this might lead to you to break this habit.

“Your beliefs become your thoughts,

Your thoughts become your words,

Your words become your actions,

Your actions become your habits,

Your habits become your values,

Your values become your destiny.”

Gandhi

I have no time now to go trough all the different kinds of habits you might have but some of them can be questioned, it is up to you to figure out which. But back to the problem in Palestine and the countries around it. The people that live there and their leaders all suffer under the weight of a lot of habits, I know that a lot of people would be offended by calling the problems they have a result of habits and not the result of their different adversaries, but maybe them thinking that is a habit.

What I wrote above is just a thought experiment, it is impossible to let everybody see their mistakes and nasty habits and see the light so to speak. But imagine if the millions of people that live in the middle east would all get amnesia overnight and wake up not knowing their past…The only thing they know is what kind of work they do and who to take care off, they just start doing that and live; only the police, the soldiers and boarder guards are confused and don’t know what they are doing, they just go home.

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