Sunday, February 21, 2010

Thoughts, Values, Truths

Thoughts, repeated, become stories.

Stories, repeated for a group, become values.

Values, repeated for a nation, become truths.

Values can start arguments. Truths can start wars.

When we are a member of a family, or an company, or a nation, we are implicitly agreeing to the collective stories of that group.

Some stories lead to great things. President Kennedy's promise to put a man on the moon comes to mind. Others lead us astray.

I have a friend who worked for a company that identified the bottom twenty percent (by work group) each year and fired them. The company wanted people to challenge themselves to be better. Instead, fear took over. The survivors were those who were best at making their colleagues look bad.

We owe it to ourselves to identify and, when called for, challenge not only our own stories, but those of the groups that we are part of. And if that doesn't work, we can find better groups. Or start them.



  1. Thanks for your musings and the invitation to respond!
    I like Adyashanti's take on thoughts -- any thought, by definition, is not true in the sense of being an accurate reflection of reality, because it is a product of the in that way a thought is already a story because it's not the experience itself, but an interpretation of it....
    You don't use the word "belief", but I think that word could be substituted in place of *thought*, or *value*, or *truth*, because none of these are absolute except in the individual mind of the thinker.
    Perhaps you might enjoy this description of the types of belief systems:
    It's a 25 minute talk by Harry Palmer, author of the Avatar materials.

  2. Thanks for responding, and for the link--I'll take a look. You are right that "belief" is another one of those words, as is "concept" (and many others), each having a slightly different connotation, but each taking us away from experience itself.