The British were always taught to keep a stiff upper lip in the face of hard times, but, as Kenneth Williams says in Carry On Up The Khyber, “Put the tea in the cup before the milk, and they go berserk!”
But what difference does it make? Well, when teacups were made of delicate china, it did matter. But not anymore. What other ‘hangovers’ do we still cling to, as if they were true?
How about these things?
- Men shouldn’t wear make-up.
- You should always say please and thank you.
- You can’t ‘get away’ with wearing certain clothing at certain ages.
- Wine should be drunk from a specific style of glass.
- You should feel guilty for having a lie-in.
I stopped listening to the radio about ten years ago, so I’ve lost touch with modern music. Why? Because I don’t like modern music. But, how do I know that I don’t like modern music, if I haven’t listened to it for ten years?
Quite simply, I have a prejudice against modern music. It’s as if there’s a buzzer in my brain, which reacts negatively every time I hear a chart song, or even someone talking about a chart song. I already know it’s going to be rubbish, so I don’t even bother to listen to it, even if it’s the best thing since the Beatles. Which obviously it couldn’t be, because it’s modern. I’m possibly missing out on a lot of great music.
We’ve all got our little hang ups, haven’t we? But it’s stupid to say that I know something, if I haven’t even tried it. Obviously, I’m not talking about doing dangerous or reckless things, just about trying something new that I would normally avoid.
We all pigeonhole objects, situations, and people. We think we already know how something will go, or how someone will behave, so we listen with that state of mind. We then look for evidence that confirms our existing beliefs. And so it perpetuates.
Maybe we’re afraid that if we hear new ideas, we’ll automatically adopt them, so we avoid them. But are we really that susceptible? Not at all. Wouldn’t it be fun to try new experiences? And then if we don’t like it, we just don’t do it again. We could be missing out on something life changing, if only we’d pause for moment to sample new things and ideas; who knows what delights we might discover!
We’re often so entrenched in our own perspective, that it’s hard to see things differently. We take our own opinions very seriously, and we often assume that because it’s our opinion, then it must be right. The truth. But there’s always someone who sees things completely differently. And that person believes in their opinion just as much as we do.
Children are often told what to believe by adults, and they’re encouraged not to question, so we grow up stuck with some unhelpful beliefs, which we get indignant about, as we leap to defend them. But it’s just something that’s been downloaded into us from an early age. Next time you feel yourself getting angry over something that’s not actually important, just remember it’s not who you are, but just something that you’ve been taught.
Of course, lots of our rules exist to protect us, and there are life-or-death consequences if they’re broken. It’s sensible to cross the road carefully, and to wash your hands before eating. But some things are just daft.
These inherited beliefs aren’t you. If you’d been brought up somewhere else, you might have a completely different set of beliefs.
What do you think? Oh, and any suggestions of modern bands would be gratefully accepted!