Commandment No. 1: Only treat as gospel what you’ve experienced first-hand, or sourced from within.
To all other data add a bag of salt.
Our lives are shaped to a significant extent by the actions we take. The actions we take are influenced by the decisions we make. The decisions we make are influenced by the information we have.
We are constantly trying to make sense of the world in order to inform decisions for our best and highest good. We gather information from various sources – first-hand, second-hand, third-hand, and so on, in various ways.
Usually, when we have faith in the information we have gathered, we make decisions with confidence and certainty. When we are not entirely confident of the accuracy of the perceived information or the legitimacy of the source, we delay decision making or are tentative in the actions we take, based on those decisions.
The problem is that when we place undue faith in information that isn’t worthy of that level of trust, whatever is built from that shaky foundation is troublesome.
Information is a great way to manipulate people because we use it to make decisions.
This is why the media are of such great interest to governments, organisations and other institutions, and why so much money goes into advertising.
If you want to influence people’s actions, without the use of force, the most elegant way to do it is to manipulate the information people receive and can perceive. They then take action based on this information with no need for coercion on your part.
This is not just about big things like the education system or censorship; it applies on micro levels too, such as when you lie to your boss about why you need to take the day off. We understand that the information we give to people, especially those who trust us, can have an impact on how they perceive reality and, in turn, affect their choices.
Just like the parents who told their kids that a musical ice cream truck is empty, the guy who lies about loving a girl in order to increase his chances of having sex with her, or the way politicians lie about a lot of things a lot of the time.
Soon after I was diagnosed with adrenal fatigue I found myself in a loose tribe of people suffering from autoimmune disorders. I called us the Sick and Tired Tribe.
You’ve got to love this digital age – it’s so easy to find or form a tribe for any issue under the sun. In this particular tribe, we bitched and moaned about our symptoms, our bleeding bank accounts and how people didn’t really believe that we were sick, partly because the sicker we got the fatter we became.
It is hard to convince people you are ill while your thighs seem to be living their best life. You try to explain how a malfunctioning thyroid can lead to rapid and stubborn weight gain and you can almost hear them thinking, “Ooookay, that’s a very educated excuse for staying fat. Perhaps you should read less and run more, you lazy fuck.”
As my energy levels began to improve and I complained less about being utterly exhausted all the time, questions were raised by other members of the Sick and Tired Tribe. I’d respond honestly, telling them about drinking solar-charged water, lying on the grass to boost my energy, and the like.
Some were open and curious, while others either glazed over or were agitated. Many in the latter group would then bitch-slap me with “science”. Apparently, nothing that was making me feel better was valid because it didn’t make scientific sense. My question, then, is: “If it works, who cares?”
The funny thing about doubters is that they tend to be the same ones who make fun of religious people and yet do not realise that the science they spout can be considered their own religion. Have you ever heard someone say: “I believe in the Sun”? Probably not, because enough people have agreed that the existence of the sun is a fact, proven by shared lived experienced.
However, people often make statements such as “I believe in God” or angels or ghosts. This is a tacit accommodation of the understanding that this is a subject or issue of which we do not have definitive proof or a shared lived experience, so we need to introduce the concept of faith – “I believe.”
I have noticed with growing fascination how many of those who bludgeon believers (of any kind, not necessarily in anything spiritual) with “science, research or authority” never actually interrogate this “science” they use to silence or dismiss others.
Like the “What’s your source?” guy on Twitter. Often, as long as an article includes the phrase “Scientists say …”, “Scientists have discovered …” or variations thereof, they swallow it hook, line and sinker with little or no interrogation. People who trade in clickbait know this.
Have you noticed how many articles on the internet start with similar phrases? That’s because such headlines get clicks and shares. They rely on a combination of arrogance, gullibility and laziness on the part of the reader. These “rational” people may not believe in the esoteric or the mystical, but they sure do believe in articles containing the words “Scientists say …”
Humans have an interesting tendency known as conformation bias, a cognitive bias that causes us to favour information that confirms beliefs we already hold. Confirmation bias inclines us to filter out or ignore information that contradicts what we have already made firm decisions about. It has its uses. Confirmation bias helps us feel safe by creating a sense of certainty and stability.
The problem comes when something in our lives is very broken and the change that is required involves re-evaluating or adjusting our beliefs. In that instance, we need to be open to new ideas and viewpoints. Because we associate safety with stability, we often want a particular life circumstance to change without anything else in our lives changing, particularly our views and behaviour.
The thing is, if nothing changes – nothing changes. You can never know with 100% certainty if anything is true unless you have experienced it yourself, and part of increasing your ability to unf*ck yourself is to trade in some of the safety that comes with certainty, for the empowerment that comes with being open-minded and having an increased tolerance for uncertainty.
It’s a balance. Feeling as though you know too little is mentally and emotionally destabilising, yet deciding that you know a lot more than you do can get you stuck up shit creek without a paddle, as the Scots so elegantly put it.
About the book and author:
The word “f*ck” is super versatile. One of its many meanings is “broken”.
As we confront an uncertain future, torn apart by insecurity, pandemics, economic crashes and personal demons, as a human race, we’ve never felt more f*cked.
The planet is f*cked. Our leaders are f*cked. Our belief systems are f*cked. Our relationships are f*cked. Our food systems are f*cked. Our reliance on money is f*cked. Our obsession with technology is f*cked. Our hearts, our health, our minds, our spirits … all f*cked.
Three years ago, crippled by burnout, in a state of near collapse, best selling author and corporate leader Kagiso Msimango embarked on a powerful journey of unf*cking herself.
What she discovered, after getting little relief from mainstream healing methods, (while maxing out her medical aid in the process), was a simple and revolutionary truth: the more we unf*ck ourselves, the more the we unf*ck our world.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Msimango is the author of The Goddess Bootcamp and The Goddess Mojo Bootcamp, both published by Melinda Ferguson. She has worked for decades in corporate and media but prefers to run Goddess Bootcamps and Unf*ck Yourself retreats. She also has extensive experience in shamanic work. Unf*ck Yourself is her third book.