Your life will never be perfect, but you can certainly make it better than it is now. The first step to achieving this is learning to understand the true nature of reality. It’s only by understanding the situation we find ourselves in, that we can do something about it. In fact, many of the great scientific and technical achievements of humanity prove this point.
For example, for most of the history of civilization, people believed that the Earth was at the centre of the universe, with the sun the moon and the planets orbiting it. It was Nicolaus Copernicus, the Polish mathematician, whose finding in the 16th century that the sun lay at the centre of the solar system that turned previous knowledge on its head. This discovery was one of the key events in modern science, and led us directly to the modern world.
It is humanity’s understanding of physics, chemistry, biology and other scientific disciplines that allow us to have such mastery over our existence. Without this background understanding, we could have no cars, aeroplanes or electricity. It was by understanding the nature of reality through science that we improved our existence. We looked past what appeared to be or what we hoped was the truth (the Earth was the centre of the universe) to see what actually was.
You can use this same technique to improve your own life. I’m not suggesting that you conduct scientific experiments on yourself, instead always do your best to understand the true nature of reality. For it is only with this knowledge that you can make good decisions.
Most people already think they have a pretty good idea of what’s going on around them, but in many ways they’re like those that believed the Earth was at the centre of the universe. They’re unwilling to face up to the fact that what they believe to be the truth may be wrong. Through wishful thinking, delusional despair, or just plain laziness, people give up on enquiring into
the nature of things. They already think they know it all, so why bother re-examining their beliefs?
This attitude can lead to frustration, anger and misery when reality fails to behave in the way we expect it to. I can’t possibly be wrong, people think, so it’s the world that’s faulty. Don’t you make the same mistake.
The first step to becoming educated is realizing that you know nothing.
The world around us is complex beyond belief. You will never even come close to understanding everything that affects your life. Experts in any particular field soon discover that the more they know about something, the less they realize they know. You are ignorant about virtually everything and will remain so throughout your life. But the less ignorant you are, the better decisions you can make and the more power you will have over your existence.
So keep an open mind. A great many of the things you hold as sacrosanct truth are probably incorrect. When you hear an opinion or a finding that disagrees with your beliefs, stop yourself from dismissing it out of hand. If the world doesn’t behave in the way you expect it to, you’re probably the one that’s wrong. Rather than resigning yourself to despair, re-examine your beliefs – can you learn something from this that will help you in the future?
Read everything you can get your hands on, and do so with an open mind. Challenge yourself with views that you find stupid, boring, or possibly even offensive. What can these views teach you about the world?
As the old saying goes, with knowledge comes power.