Discover more from Courtney’s Crunchy Corner
Etymology, social norms, & shrooms
and what they all have in common.
I’ve recently been learning all sorts of fun facts from my new favorite podcast, “Ologies with Allie Ward.” Last week’s episode on etymology caused a thought that’s been swimming around the recesses of my brain to happily resurface. What’s going on, I keep asking myself, with how accepting we are of a certain idea based purely off societal norms? In other words, how often do we think critically to formulate opinions these days? More often than not, we lazily—and most likely, subconsciously—draw conclusions from our communities’ values instead. This is no new escapade in the field of thought; many people have been reflecting on this—credibility, fact-checking, censoring, etc.—within the age of modern technology especially. But my personal interest is fueled at its core by a new, unshakeable value of mine: open-mindedness.
Every day it seems I’m confronted with another person convicted about something or other. I find it so fascinating that this person, simply because of their particular set of life experiences, education, genetics, etc. is so completely, utterly certain about their point of view. I immediately begin to compare them to their human “opposite.” What would a person across the globe, with a different heritage, body type, education, worldview, and life experience have to say? Beyond this “opposite” type of person, what would his entire community of like-minded individuals have to say? Spin the globe again, peek in on a different country with a varied assortment of humans, contrasting worldviews, empirically validated experiences, and flourishing lifestyles. Would they agree? More importantly, would they be scandalized or curious?
All these thoughts flooded my mind after a segment of etymology: the origin of “you” and today’s controversy over pronouns. Fun fact: “you” was previously the plural form of “thou.” In a few hundred years, I wonder if “they” will be the acceptable replacement for “he” and “she.” This is earth-shattering for some people, and for others, it’s just the fluidity and natural progression of a language constantly affected by an infinite amount of factors.
This, in turn, reminded me of mushrooms. Mhm…the hallucinogenic kind. And all the other substances I grew up quite afraid of. But these in particular for one reason—I remember saying, “I would never try them.” Because of my personal lack of research, complete absence of education or exposure to plant medicine, and the existing stigma in my immediate community towards anything other than a sober state, I dismissed with such certainty something I knew little to nothing about. I didn’t draw my own conclusions or think critically about this neutral little plant because, worst of all, it wasn’t even an option. It was a given that I would never be open to something so “against” my current belief system.
Of course, the cherry on top has to be, without a doubt, my shift in worldview…to put it lightly. Anyone who’s gone through the painful, grief-ridden, disorienting deconstruction of leaving their childhood faith might accidentally become the most open-minded person in the world. Maybe coming to a certain realization—the awareness that you’ve found peace, joy, suffering, misery, and everything in between within two drastically different worldviews—gives a person a sort of cellular reset. The hair on your skin perks up. The blood rushing through your veins turns an ear. Your twitching muscles furrow their brows. Your atoms do a double take.
All these ramblings have an ultimate, deeper wonder. I daydream about a society where nothing (or the inevitable few things) is villainized. Where questions, constant curiosity, critical thinking, and avid exploration all imbue the adventures of the thriving citizens. Their everyday quest: the search for truth; a game that can’t be lost. The ego is lovingly set aside (for it does, in fact, belong in this cosmos) while the explorers deep dive into the beauty and complexity of the human condition and the surrounding universe at their fingertips—robust reserves of empathy on their sleeves and minds. wide. open.
why subscribe? the more we practice sharing ourselves with the world, the closer we'll be to attaining the peace & joy that accompanies true freedom of expression. i’d love for you to join me on my journey <3