A frequent comment I see on Scientology blogs is, “How does anyone fall for that crap?” I have an answer to that which occasionally gets an angry reaction. My answer is, “So what crap have you fallen for?” You see, I contend that everybody, at one time or another, will foolishly buy into some bogus pile of BS. They may not know it. They may never know it. But one thing I know is that even smart people fall for stupid ideas.
The world overflows with ideologues, true believers, and followers of whatever dogma happens to be popular for the moment. And such devotion isn’t limited to religious beliefs and practices. Political and social movements too, abound with ardent supporters who profess and promote their particular causes.
With all of these ideologies flying around, it’s a wonder that people manage to get along. Actually, they often don’t. Consider the overwhelming proliferation of mass media, social media, and camera phones, and you’ll see a society perpetually engaged in one loud, ongoing squabble about anything and everything.
Maybe it’s just human nature. We always seem to be willing to mock the other guy’s crap. But our own crap? Why, that’s the real deal—unquestionable truths to live by. One man’s BS is another man’s gospel.
Sometimes these ideological devotees turn into ideological zealots. This is the home turf of the fanatic and true believer. Whether it’s a religious zealot, a political radical, or social revolutionary, these are the extremists in society, militant ideologues driven by some grand philosophical theory. It doesn’t matter what the ideology is. If you have to consult your philosophy before you can make an observation, opinion, evaluation, or decision, you can miss the immediate situation in front of you. Reality doesn’t always conform to ideological precepts.
As a former true believer, I like to think that I’ve since shed the rigid mindset that once ruled my life for so many years. And in the process of this change of thinking, I’ve become aware of the inflexible thought constructs of others. It’s like looking in a mirror of my former self.
Perhaps someday I may have this dialogue:
“How did you ever fall for that crap?”
“How did you ever fall for your crap?”
“I haven’t fallen for any crap.”
“Yeah, famous last words. That’s what they all say.”