The word doctrine refers to the beliefs that are laid down as true by an instructor or master. These are the fundamental beliefs of a subject. Most doctrines evolve through an interaction of viewpoints. One viewpoint says this is the way it is, and another viewpoint says that isn’t the way it is, and a third viewpoint extrapolates or synthesizes how it is and how it isn’t from the first two viewpoints. Of course, now a fourth viewpoint can come along and contradict the third viewpoint, and then a fifth viewpoint can extrapolate from the third and fourth viewpoints.
Eventually, in a slow but natural Thoughtstorm® process, a doctrine is arrived at that everyone can pretty much agree on. You could call this kind of doctrine a corecept doctrine, because it has been beaten out of the best ideas that any viewpoint could come up with.
Corecept doctrines usually express fundamental, agreed upon principles.
There is a second kind of doctrine that you could call a declared doctrine. Someone in authority declares a belief – this is the way it is – and anyone who questions it is punished. The punishment may be as severe as death or something milder like embarrassment or humiliation. Rules and laws, for the most part, are declared doctrines. Declared doctrines are usually motivated by something other than arriving at truth.
Indoctrination means to fill someone with doctrines. These doctrines are instructed in such a way that they become the reference points for a person’s thinking. Military training is an obvious form of indoctrination. Advertising and state supervised educations are less obvious indoctrinations. The goal of indoctrination is to structure someone’s consciousness in such a way that there are certain beliefs that the person is unwilling or unable to question. This is the way it is!
Many people, either deliberately or compulsively, try to indoctrinate each other with their ideas. Your parents did it to you; you do it to your children. Politics and big business do it to us all. We commonly call it influence or persuasion, but it is really a camouflaged attempt to rewire someone’s beliefs to your benefit.
Indoctrination has the intention of making another accept your information without examining it. Information is coupled with a threat of punishment if it is not accepted or occasionally, as in marketing, with the promise of a reward if it is accepted. The information that is passed may be useful, harmful or irrelevant. But because it is unexamined, it tends to unbalance a person’s rational thought processes.
You don’t really think with indoctrinated information; you think on it. It remains hidden as uninspected assumptions.
The key to discovering your own indoctrinations is learning to observe what happens to you when you question your own assumptions.
If you question a corecept doctrine it begins to get interesting. The reasoning behind it unfolds and you go, “Yeah, yeah.” It was transparent to you due to its obviousness. Now you see the logic of it, and it gets interesting.
When you question indoctrinated information, you don’t get an interested, “Yeah, yeah.” Instead you feel an irritable, “Yeah, yeah,”- the way you feel when someone tells you for the third time something you already know.
The information is transparent due to your unwillingness to question it. You might be willing to argue it, but not to question it. If you persist in questioning it, you become emotional and some part of your body may start to hurt. Indoctrinations are associated with pain and threats of punishment to prevent their being questioned. The more uncomfortable you feel about questioning something, the more likely that you are dealing with indoctrinated information.
The emotion that arises from questioning indoctrinations fuels the intolerance in the world.
If you wish to create an enlightened planetary civilization, you must become very good at the subtle art of bringing people to recognize and rethink their old indoctrinations. Unless you learn to do this with respect, the effect can be revolutionary instead of evolutionary. Generally, people do not like it when someone else tries to change their beliefs. But give them the tools to observe, think and predict, and they do just fine without any indoctrination.
Avatar is a good solution, perhaps the best so far. It safely and with a minimum of offense teaches people to recognize, experience and discreate their own indoctrinations. When they do, there is natural resurgence in the joy of life.
The opposite of indoctrination is awakening a person’s ability to deliberately experience different points of view without forming too many carved-in-rock conclusions. This single ability turns indoctrination back into a fluid awareness that can observe and think clearly. It is unlocking your own mind.
Reprinted with permission from Star’s Edge International. This article appeared in the Avatar journal March/April 1997 Volume XI, Issue 2. Avatar is a registered trademark of Star’s Edge International.
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