Grounded in nature: Minimalism as mental self-defence

We’re constantly under attack, you could say.
Our minds are being fished.
We’re like fish, that the bait’s coming out at us, the hooks are coming out at us.
Everybody, it seems, is trying to affect how we think.
We have advertising telling us what we should want, what we really want if we just thought about it.
And we have news, we have politics, we have these different views of the world, this war of ideas, and we’re the battleground.
Our minds are the battleground.
We’re being fought over.
And there’s so many different projects to affect how we think.
I guess it sounds like a grand conspiracy, but I mean, I don’t suggest that it’s some kind of organized program in a complete way, but clearly we’re being affected by advertising, we’re being affected by political campaigning, and we’re also influenced by different narratives, different interpretations of the world.
So, even though it might be a bit dramatic to say we’re under attack, I think it’s pretty clear that we have this situation in which our minds- we’re just going out there in the world just open to manipulation.
And somehow, we have to get through the world this way.
We need our mental self-defence.
We need to find ways to keep control of our own thoughts and try to find the best way to look at the world.
And of course, in addition to all the mainstream stuff, of course, also alternative points of view, they’re trying to get us, too.
That’s propaganda too, the alternative points of view.
“Oh, we’ll cut through the propaganda and give you the truth.”
Well, that’s just another form of- persuasion is really the word.
Trying to persuade us a certain way.
And how do we get through the world without just being yanked back and forth by every message that comes into us?
We have a greater vulnerability, I think, because of how much our lives are behind screens, how much we’re living in this kind of virtual fantasy world.
I mean, when our interaction with the world is through pixels, we’re so open to illusion, to being deceived by some kind of fanciful manipulation of reality, whether just a complete fabrication of fantasy, or just a good editing job, to package life in a way that nudges us in a particular direction.
So the more we get involved in screen world, the more vulnerable we are.
And also, I think the more that we are living in worlds of abstract concepts, then the more we are vulnerable to this influence.
If we put too much emphasis on particular words and particular concepts at some kind of abstract level, there’s more room for us to kind of have our views warped away from reality and sort of nudged into whatever direction we are being persuaded in.
So you can see this, with advertising, we get concepts like happiness and satisfaction.
And with politics, you have concepts like freedom and justice.
And so these kind of very high abstract terms, they leave us open to warping exactly what they mean in some way, because they’re so abstract that they’re flexible.
So with all this, the answer to me seems to be that we need to keep things simple, keep things grounded in reality, simple reality.
That is our mental defence.
We can be manipulated in so many ways when it comes to illusions, when it comes to abstract ideas, but when it comes to simple physical reality, it’s a lot harder.
If I’m hungry and somebody tries to tell me I’m not hungry, they’re going to have a hard time.
If I am taking care of my physical environment, if there’s something wrong with my physical environment, if there’s like a bad smell coming into my nose, then there’s no kind of abstract reasoning and argument- it’s going to be difficult to change my way of thinking.
You might get some abstract idea about hunger and an abstract idea about a smell, but these actual physical sensations are more difficult to warp.
And so we’re stronger, we’re more able to stay grounded in reality, and we’re less vulnerable to illusions, if we stay grounded in simple physical reality.
And that’s where I find it comes nature, the simple things in life.
Eating, sleeping, going for a walk in the forest, where we actually sense the world directly.
And this whole world of ideas and screen illusions and abstract concepts, that’s all an extra layer.
And that’s great too.
We can interact with that world.
But if we stay grounded in the simple physical sensations, I wonder if that can help to be stronger and keep our perspective on the world more clear.
So I’d be curious to hear what you think about this.
Is it actually a useful strategy?
Or are these abstract ideas still essential, and we have to work with them as well?
Or can we really live our lives with this simple grounding in physical nature?
What do you think?

#mentalselfdefence #minimalism #groundedinnature

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