Removing the Kaleidoscope

Last week I introduced the concept of “The Kaleidoscope”. To understand this piece in its proper context, one must first read the previous installment to understand what the kaleidoscope is. Here I will discuss ways to handle the kaleidoscope once it is understood.

Removing the kaleidoscope is as simple as removing a literal kaleidoscope—just remove it from your lens. While this prescription is quite plain, it is easier said than done. The longer one has gone without realizing the kaleidoscope exists, the harder it is for them to remove it. If one cannot even fathom sight without the kaleidoscope, then they cannot imagine removing it through the fear of uncertainty.  Regardless, like any other form of self-development, the kaleidoscope can only truly be removed by the person looking through it. At most, I can describe the process or try to stimulate realization of the kaleidoscope’s existence, but the final execution must be done by one’s self. That being said, I believe there are tricks and exercises that may help the process, and I will be discussing three of these tricks that anybody can start doing immediately.

One tactic to help remove the kaleidoscope is to identify knee-jerk values and opinions when they arise in one’s self—to notice subconscious reactions (to events, concepts and people, etc.) that  you otherwise might take for granted. Usually, these reactions will be snap judgments of a situation that can be reasonably judged in many different ways. An example of this could be an older person’s immediate disdain of tattoos, or a person who instinctively scoffs at someone in a luxury car. Now, take your reaction and break it down. Why do you feel the way you do about something? Could you give a thorough, logical answer to this question? Would you feel comfortable arguing that same logic among a group of philosophers? A group of academics? Hypothetically, if you never held this opinion at all, is your logical explanation enough to re-convince yourself of it? If your answers do not meet these criteria, then there is a good chance your knee-jerk reaction is based on what you are seeing through the kaleidoscope and is not truly your opinion, but a congregate of the lenses of others.

Another technique is to question everything outside sources tell you whether they speak to you directly or through indirect influence. This applies to advice, implications of the media, conversation, the tone of news articles, etc.; any outside source that seeks to influence you whether overtly or otherwise. Demand thorough evidence and reason as proof of what they try to convince you of. When judging the opinions of others, logic and reason is the vanquisher of delusion. Some things others may suggest may seem logical and reasonable on the surface but are truly shallow and fallacious when you consider them more deeply. That being said, don’t be shallow in your questioning—-be as thorough as your mind will allow.

One last technique is a bit counter-intuitive. It is to gather as many different lenses as possible; to not only be completely open to gathering lenses but to actively do it while simultaneously realizing that all these lenses are part of the kaleidoscope. When you encounter enough contradictory and vastly different lenses, the discrepancy and incongruities between these lenses will eventually reveal that they are illusions, and therefore reveal what the kaleidoscope truly is—one big illusion.  The idea is similar to seeing something impossible happen in your dream and then immediately realizing it is, in fact, a dream because such a thing cannot happen in waking moments. You are essentially forcing the illusions to reveal themselves by allowing them to come out into the open.

All of these tactics are powerful, active techniques you can use to identify the symptoms of the kaleidoscope. When you can identify the symptoms, the logical next step is to trace them back to the source. It’s like finding the footprints and tracing them back to the shoes that made them. Once one has successfully followed the trail of lenses and found the kaleidoscope, they must as I said in the beginning, remove the kaleidoscope and see through their own unobstructed lens. I cannot explain how to do this last part any more than I can explain how to see—it is simply something an individual must do for their self. Once the kaleidoscope is truly removed, it can never have quite as much power over you as long as you remember and practice these techniques. It is like a grand lie—imagine if a person tells another a monumental lie. This lie may seem believable by merit of its complexity alone, but if revealed that it was a lie all along,  the liar will have a harder time fooling that person again. That is what the kaleidoscope is (at least when an individual has used it to delude themselves), a lie of reality-bending proportions.