Northern Dragon

… life in the twilight years of modern-day democracy …

The Dimensions of Culture

Northern Dragon © 2019. All rights reserved.

“Man’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.”

— Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr., American physician, poet & polymath


That you, the flame of consciousness reading these words, where is your reality? Where do you exist? Well, inside the mind, the brain – obviously.

And yet, it literally takes no more than a thought for you to escape that constraint and to roam free – unbound and unfettered – throughout all of that, which you can imagine or remember, feel and think.

When we think we are not limited to that, which we can sense. And the world of our imagination is, quite literally, boundless.

Physical bounds that is.

But mentally, there are boundaries beyond which we do not want to go. There are limits, which we do not want to cross. Realms of thoughts and visions, which we do not want to visit, even in our imagination.

They are the outside. That, which is proscribed. The uncharted space not mapped by the dimensions of our culture. That, which we by upbringing, tradition, laws and rules, belief or religion, indoctrination or marketing, parochial conservatism or sheer mental blindness, has blinkered away from the horizon of our consciousness.

Mostly for good reasons. Because venturing into the outside is neither pleasant nor without consequences.

What you will see there is apt to change you. For better – or for worse.

Going out there is not the hard part though – once you are aware that there is an outside. The hard part comes once you try to get back inside again. Because you will have changed. And humans, as a species, do not take kindly to those who are different…

You don’t believe me? Very well. Let me take you on a trip. Just a short flight of imagination to… somewhere close to the border.

Answer me this – what shapes our reality?

What we think and feel


Because the world in which we actually live is the world within the mind.

All right. But that world within, where your thoughts and imagination roam. Where are the limits? What values and beliefs do you hold to be true? What is it you believe you should do, and shouldn’t do? And… why?

– …

Those limits, those values, those beliefs – they are created, taught, instilled into you by your upbringing, your culture, the things you have been taught and told all through your life.

Does that necessarily make them true?

So, again…

What shapes our reality?

Open your eyes. See.

Are you still the same?

Categories: Reflection

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2 replies

  1. Ooh. This is profound. What a great exercise to give to high school students.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, it would be. 😉
      It did, indeed, put me in mind of exercises which I too performed in years past.

      But the point was more than that, though. This post is in many ways the underpinning to the whole series about Democracy. It seeks to lay bare the fundamental truth that we, each of us, live in separate realities. A reflection of the observation that it is always the recipient which defines the communication, never the sender.

      That has significant implications, for it means that we actually cannot hope to convince anyone of the truth of any position we may hold, based on the strength of argumentation only. Whatever we say or do has to resonate within the recipient, at some level; it has to reflect, even if in the faintest glimmer, in some facet of the receiving mind. Otherwise, it will be lost, negated, and discarded.

      So what I am writing here is not aimed at converting anyone to some greater truth or wisdom. But I hope that some of those who read it may reflect, even if just for a breath or two, upon the substance of it. Reflect, and be aware.

      The lack of awareness is deadly.
      We need to see what is happening before we can hope to do anything about it.

      Liked by 1 person

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