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The Lucilius Parables, Volume I


April 23rd, 2020

What guidelines does imagination follow?  It certainly breaks some laws, the big obvious ones, like gravity, and a variety of other chemical laws and those of physics as we imagine castles in the sky and things appearing out of thin air and then transform into something else.  Meanwhile, imagination pays heed to other guidelines that aren’t actually real.  We imagine within the confines of our culture.


How is it that our one superpower is so irreverent of the laws of nature, but behaves in the light of other people’s opinions?


We are limited not by what is actually physically possible, but by what we believe is acceptable in the eyes of other people.


This isn’t too hard to realize, and it’s encapsulated by such platitudes as the perennial “don’t care what other people think.”


But here’s the thing about caring about what other people think.  If you don’t explicitly question why people behave the way they do and why you operate within the customs of normal society, then your default will be to operate within those constraints, regardless of whether you have a suspicion that they might be bullshit or not.


An explicit question cleaves a subject, deconstructs it, reveals it’s gut, or lack of substance, and this process of questioning is an emotional realization more than it is a logical understanding. 


Dietary suggestions prove to be a good example of this if you dig into the history of it a little.  We would benefit from asking why we eat certain things.  Did hunter gatherers have a bowl of cereal before they went out to do their hunting and gathering?  It’s a banal example, but considering how tremendous the shift in health and weight has been over the last century, it goes to show just how susceptible we are to following the herd.  Few buffalo ask why they shouldn’t turn off from the herd. There seems to be good reason for this, but being unable to do this means you’ll have no other option when the herd is going over a cliff.


The only laws that really need to be studies are the natural laws of physics.  Is it at all surprising that we don’t learn the laws of our country in school despite their being thousands of laws?  Somehow they all fall within the realm of ‘common sense’, or rather, we’re so good at picking up on these laws from what others do that we abide due to an osmosis.   Not to mention the fact that few people care about breaking a law if it’s clear that it won’t hurt anyone. 


But we might do well to take this further:  what frivolous laws are we unconsciously following that would be a great benefit for us to question?

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Podcast Ep. 739: Fake Laws

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