Whether talking about one person or the citizens of an entire nation, occasionally events can test the strength of our confidence and let loose the corrosive power of doubt. How much damage we allow doubt to produce will depend a great deal on the sources of our confidence. It is a healthy thing when events force us to re-examine our confidence, in fact, we probably should do this as a matter of regular routine just to assure ourselves that our confidence is based on solid ground. But what happens when we experience a long period of comfort and security without questioning the sources of our confidence? The events of 911 answered that, and made us aware that our security may have been based on illusions. But did we really learn the real important lessons from that experience, the lessons about ourselves?
I have always thought that it is a good and healthy thing when life tests our beliefs, it helps to keep us from forming beliefs on mostly convenient assumptions rather than what is actually true. Of course, this is not always a pleasant experience, suddenly something happens that creates a certain amount of doubt in our minds in regard to our confidence in something or someone. We then have choices, we can go into denial and avoid the truth through an intricate process of self deception or we can open ourselves up to honest examination. If we choose denial we risk leaving ourselves vulnerable to having confidence in something or someone that simply doesn't justify that confidence and we can pay a high price at some point for this neglect.
On the other hand, we can accept a short period of discomfort in order to make sure our confidence is still founded on solid truth and reality. In the case of the United States, we experienced a long period of comfort and security and obviously came to take way too many things for granted. One of which was our national security which produced a high level of confidence in our intelligence and law enforcement systems. We forgot that all our social infrastructure systems are administered and implemented by human beings and when we also add the reality of ever larger systems, the formula does not indicate high levels of confidence.
There are always tradeoffs for just about every benefit. Two of the tradeoffs for comfort are complacency and indifference. History has shown that more than one civilization has gone down as the result of these two insidious and oh so human conditions. It is as though we enter a kind of cultural trance like state in which we somehow come to believe that when something is good at one point in time, it will somehow continue to be good for all time to come. This is an extremely strange form of thinking in view of the undeniable reality that all things are in a constant state of change, and that includes us. This constitutes a kind of self delusion on our part, we somehow have found a way to believe that reality is only what we want it to be rather than an independent reality that we need to see clearly so we can interact appropriately within it.
As long as we remain in this cultural trance, happily believing that we are actually secure because of certain assumptions regarding our perceptions of reality, we will be highly vulnerable to the highly corrosive effects of doubt. When life throws something at us that we are unprepared for and that brings our confidence into question and doubt sets in, what will we do? Will we run and hide from the truth, or will we stop and examine the foundations upon which our confidence and security have been based? And should we have the courage to do that and find that our security is based on illusions of reality, what will we do then?
Among the many tradeoffs we make for avoiding personal responsibility is that when we place responsibility on things outside of ourselves such as social infrastructure systems like welfare, intelligence, government, economy and law enforcement, we relinquish and surrender our personal and individual independence. This may not sound like much these days, but this also means the surrender of our personal power which is unlimited and huge. So, it is beginning to look like the search for true security will lead us on a journey to find ourselves and perhaps discover that the only true security is in our own ability to rely on ourselves and our own capabilities.
But what does self reliance mean in today's world? It means the same things that it always has in the past and will in the future. It is all about developing a high enough level of conscious awareness that allows us to see reality clearly and not only the reality outside of us but more importantly our inner reality, our natural selves as we were meant to be before we surrendered to fear, ignorance and social indoctrination. We have the ability to live consciously in the reality that is taking place each moment in time where the real world is a dynamic source of endless phenomenon resulting from the processes of creation and life, and we are part of those processes. It is this ability that we have lost, and have instead become obsessed with our cultural trance state in which the world is something entirely different and not necessarily real.
The journey of rediscovering ourselves begins with finding the resources that can help us achieve success with these tasks.