What You Are Used To Vs What Is Right

As human beings, most of the time, we like to think that we are right. After all, if we knew that we were definitely wrong about something, we would almost definitely change our minds about it, so we would be right again.

That means, whether we realise it or not, most of the things that we do and say, we believe that they are the right thing to do.

Sometimes however, the line between what is right and what we are used to can become a bit blurry. We have seen the same things happening over and over or we do the same things over and over, we become used to it. And because we are used to it, we assume it must be an okay thing to see or do. After all, if something was really that bad, everyone would stop doing it or there would be too much outcry that we couldn’t ignore it, right?

Throughout our lives, we go through a certain amount of conditioning. A lot, actually. This is perfectly natural as well as completely unavoidable. We don’t choose the parents we are born to, we don’t choose the genes we receive, we don’t choose where we spend most of our childhood and we don’t choose the culture or time we grow up in.

All of these aspects have extremely impactful effects on what we believe, how we see the world and why we think what we think. A lightbulb moment might come to you and you go “Oh, I believe that because that is what my dad believes,” or ” It’s what my friends always told me.” or even “It’s what a philosopher I read about said…”

Once we recognise openly and acceptingly how much we are conditioned, and how much of our knowledge is secondhand, only then can we become ready to start thinking for ourselves. More accurately, start experiencing and knowing for ourselves.

People used to attend public executions. Not because public executions were right, but because it was just what they were used to. People used to own slaves. Not because slavery was right, but because people used to say “that’s just how things are.”

There are plenty of issues in the world today which are defended by phrases like “that’s just how things are” and “that’s how things have always been”. There isn’t a more obvious way of telling people you are incapable of deciphering what you are used to vs what is right when using these phrases. 

The next time something plays on your conscience, it might be worth asking: do I think this is okay because it is something I am used to and other people do it, or because it is actually right?