Flippy’s Six Stages to Enlightenment

People who completely disagree with me are rarely evil. It’s just a difference of how they view the world. While there are many reasons for this difference, an important one is their stage on the path to enlightenment. I’ve discovered that there are several well-defined categories of beliefs and attitudes that I call the six stages to enlightenment. Perhaps you’ll recognize these.

 1. Gullibility

This is the stage where you believe what you’re told without question. You believe in Santa Claus and behave the week before Christmas so that you get the presents you want. You believe in your political party and always vote for its candidates and defend their policies. You believe in dogmatic religions, never questioning your priest/imam/rabbi/etc., or your holy writings. You believe in a certain socio-economical system, thinking that if you play by the rules, you’ll eventually make it big. You believe that relationships work in a certain way, and you assume there’s a correct set of obligations and rights for each person and you play your part, thinking that it will result in a fulfilling relationship.

This is the first stage we all go through, and if you live in a society that’s relatively closed, it can be a pleasant place to be.

foolLa la la. It’s lovely being gullible.

 2. Questioning

I wish I could tell you why some people frequently question what they were taught and why some never almost never question anything, but I can’t. My guess it that it has to do with contact with other cultures, although I suspect that there’s a genetic aspect as well. Contacts with people from other cultures expose you to other ways of thinking and being, and when you experience how life is for others, you start to realize that your way of thinking and being is not the only one there is. You may even discover that yours may not even be the best one.

3. Disappointment

Everyone has disappointments in life. In this case I’m talking about those disappointments that hurt—not only because of the specific incident—but because they topple beliefs that you’ve held strongly in an irreversible and undeniable way. It’s not when someone tells you that Santa Claus doesn’t exist. It’s when you realize that there is just no way that Santa Claus could exist. It’s when you realize that all the other “Santa Claus” things in your life can’t exist either. It’s when your girlfriend cheats on you for no reason. It’s when your wife leaves you because you lost your job. It’s when your father gets fired after giving the company 40 years of his life, and not because he screwed up, but because the company moved to China. It’s when you discover that the politician and party you support is not really different from their opponents. This is the hardest stage of them all and when not handled well, it can have serious negative consequences.

disappointmentYou lied to me and ruined everything!

4. Cynicism

So, everything you were told, that you believed in was a lie, a scam, a trap. But now you know better, right? The shock of disappointment opened your eyes and now you are smarter. You see “those poor suckers” and you laugh at the gullible, the sheep, the blind, the faithful. You’re above them now. You see no point in pursing anything other than your agenda. After all, why shouldn’t you? Aren’t all the smart people doing the same? And when you do get your way, you feel smug, you feel smart, you feel like they can’t fool you. You’re the one that discovered the secret and nobody can’t touch you.

However, this stage is just a display of bitterness. I was in that stage once (and I still fall back on it sometimes) and realize I was just a pathetic human being. You see it all the time in people who feel righteous and proud. They’re the ones who claim they can’t be fooled. While many people never go beyond the first stage, almost everyone who gets to cynicism gets stuck there. It’s the one that allows them to be right and judgmental, just like they were when they were in the first stage.

cynicYou think you know something? HA! I doubt it!

 5. Realization

This is when you slowly realize that just because you know how the system is a sham, it doesn’t mean that life is bad. You also start to realize that being a bitter, cynical being is not very satisfying, that there’s so much more in life than just sitting back and laughing at idiots. Mostly, you realize how sad and pathetic you’ve been.

If you are well-read, you start to realize the truth of all the great masters and how they contributed to the world. You see how they acquired wisdom and used it for the benefit of others, not just for themselves.

6. Enlightenment

I realize that enlightenment is perhaps not the best word to use for this stage. A friend of mine suggested self-realization, but I thought having stage five being called “realization” and then calling stage six “self-realization” didn’t really work. Enlightenment seems like something worth being.

Enlightenment is awesome for everyone.

In any case, this is the stage where you take what you know, with realistic views about how the world and humans really work, and use it to make the world better. Along the way, you make yourself a better person. And you do it because it’s so much more satisfying than any of the other stages and because you now have a genuine desire to have a positive impact on the life of others.

That’s it. Those are Flippy’s six stages to enlightenment.

If you want to read more, you can learn how to speak basic Corporatese here.

When not busy mixing his whites with colors, Flippy works as a writer, translator, and language teacher. In his free time, he plays video games, takes photos, and writes funny stuff. You can find his humor book, Flippy’s Life Lessons Stuff Every Single Man Should Know, published by Relentlessly Creative Books on Amazon.com.

©2016, all rights reserved
published with the permission of the author