The willingness to be a fool is the precursor to transformation. This means you must be willing to be and more importantly look like a beginner. This means putting your ego aside. It also means looking like a fool again. This is very hard for us as we age because it is uncomfortable. To be a beginner is to say, “I don’t really know that much about this thing.” We need to have humility in life as a general rule. Because if you don’t, you think you know everything already and what good are you then?
“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.” – Henry Ford
That view is precisely what separates people into opposing factions if you will. This is why religion is so polarizing. Not because of the ideas but because of the people. They say, what I believe is right and that means what you believe is wrong. Then they create a social identity around that and that becomes how they identify in the world. Then, they seek to destroy anything that opposes that idea of self because we humans are fragile. We can’t have anything challenging our identity so we do terrible things to people who don’t believe the same way that we do.
This is in some respect biological I think because identifying with a certain group of people or a tribe at one point in our existence is how you survived. You had to make allegiances with other people and uphold that alliance because resources were limited and the wolves were at the door. We needed someone to keep watch while we slept so the other tribe didn’t come in and kill us in our sleep just to take the things we had. This sort of tribal identity played its role but life in large parts of the world isn’t like that for us anymore. We have more than we could need, there is no real struggle for resources.
So our brains seek other conflicts, they seek the monster lurking in the dark. Only to find that monster doesn’t exist, so what happens then? We create one! We demonize others and we persecute individuals because their belief structure challenges our own. We are so attached to the identity that we create for ourselves that we regard anything outside of it as wrong. This leads us down a very dangerous path I believe because now if we only hold certain things to be true we become unwilling to have new experiences. We become unwillingly to try new things and as a result, we lose an opportunity to become the highest expression of ourselves.
We lose an opportunity to expand our circle of experience which makes us unable to relate to people who have those experiences. And let’s be honest when we seek a tribe one of the greatest determinants is shared experience. We want to be around people who are into the same things we are. The problem is that most of us have such a small circle of experience and knowledge that we latch to the first experience that allows us to relate to other people. Even if it is a bad one.
People spend their whole lives in relationships or jobs or places or in tribes that are erroding the foundation of their souls out of fear. As Yoda said, “Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” The fear of the unknown will lead a person to their own version of hell. All because we are afraid and therefore unwilling to have new experiences or accept new ideas.
You want to do something new? Prepare to feel like a fool, but dont ever let that fear stop you. It’s not worth the price you will pay.