What if everything I believe in is a lie, due to influence by society?

We are born into a world full of different things that might affect us. There are infinite amount of different combinations how these things can affect us. They don't always have a direct effect on us, but we individually select (unconsciously, mostly) what we notice and how we handle those notions.

We have individual nervous systems that are in charge of what kind of information we notice in our environment and how we filter that information. The information that has affected us in the past will also affect how we process new information (it's also called the cycle of perception, the concept being invented by Ulrich Neisser).

Simple example: you love psychology, you notice psychological phenomena everywhere, via noticing them your information base about psychology grows bigger and deeper and that can make you notice even more subtle psychological phenomena. At the same time, though, you will always miss something else out.

A biologist explains things in the terms of biology, a psychologist explains things in the terms of psychology, a physicist in the terms of physics... None of them are "living in a lie", they just each see different angles of the same reality.

Why we feel like the influence society has on us is more of an illusion than other influences might be that it is usually "forced" on us.. Same with the family's influence. We absorb societal/parental influences when we are kids (without being enough mature to question them) so it feels like we've been lied to. But any influence can take the form of forcing. I think the danger lies in presenting something being "the only option". There should be always space for questioning.

It doesn't really mean that the image of reality society is trying to feed you is more of a lie than some other image some else facet is trying to feed you. They're all lies in the sense that none of the "images" takes everything into account (like a psychologist doesn't take the biological angle into account with the same potency that the biologist does and the other way around). There can be differences in how the "images" are presented, though. If something is tried to force on you and is said to be "the only possibility/option/truth", I'd say be on your toes.

Just because something affects you doesn't mean the effect it has on you is "a lie". You can have different "information bases" on different times and it doesn't mean you were living in a lie earlier (or are living in a lie now or will live in the future). You can want to work with kids and adolescents now and totally change your mind later in life. It's normal that we grow and change.

We can not know everything. There might always be something hiding somewhere that would change how we see things. You just have to accept that every moment you're working with your current "information base" and you make your decisions based on that. If it feels wrong, you can try to consciously make the base bigger and deeper... Read new things, experience new things, learn who you are and how you work.

Meditation can help you become more conscious of how your perception works: what kind of information you usually "let in" and how you handle it and why you notice certain things and not the others. It might help you feel more "in charge" of yourself, not feeling like you're just a puppet of the society or your family.

/r/infj Thread