Posing in front of public art in Sofia, Bulgaria, former bastion of Soviet era communism.

Posing in front of public art in Sofia, Bulgaria, former bastion of Soviet era communism.

“There are two sides to every question: my side and the wrong side.” 
~ Oscar Levant

Have you been arguing in support of your dogma, even when you’ve secretly known it’s in error? If so, you’re not alone. 

Dogmas can dog us all. And they can encroach upon us from every corner. We fall prey to dogmas in all segments of life: social, political, religious, cultural and economic, just to name a few.

Dogmas are best described as a belief or set of beliefs that are unwaveringly accepted without question or doubt.

We acquire dogmas through established institutions and authorities and then adopt them as our gospel. In the process, we neglect to discover their foundations, try them for their strength or test them for their truth.

Dogmas cause us to insist rather than question. They demand that others see our viewpoint, but prevent us from inquiring into theirs. Over time, dogmas cause us to cut others off from meaningful dialogue while denying ourselves insights that might prove personally beneficial.

I’m often amused, and sometimes perplexed, watching others furiously argue over matters they likely question in private or completely disbelieve in secret. Admittedly, I’ve fallen prey to dogma myself until its unwavering demands undermined my internal peace.

Recognizing that my arguments were flawed and my personal integrity was found wanting created sufficient justification for tuning in to a higher reality.

Maura Sweeney in Foundations of Happiness

Falling captive to dogma is part mystery and part inherent flaw of the human race. We surrender to and defend our dogmas for several reasons: we’re partly pre-programmed, we’re partly lazy and we’re partly chained to our ego. We like to be right, even when we inherently know when we’re not.

As we continue to surrender to dogma’s edicts, dogma can morph from trusted friend to questionable nemesis. In its worst manifestation, dogma leaves us confused, corrupted and lacking in personal enlightenment. Ultimately, desiring to preserve an errant or outmoded viewpoint can bring us both internal upset and external strife.

Former comedian, pianist and author Oscar Levant used his familiar witticism to coin the above phrase. With a wry smile, his quote referencing “my side and the wrong side” captures the lack of enlightenment we suffer when holding too tightly to ideas based on limited perspective.

Levant wasn’t the only one to warn us about being dogged about defending our dogmas. A few others have echoed the errors that occur as we wed ourselves unwaveringly to beliefs that demand to be tried:

“Too often we hold fast to the clichés of our forebears. We subject all facts to a prefabricated set of interpretations. We enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.” ~ John F. Kennedy 

“If it is true that we need a degree of certainty to get by, it is also true that too much of the stuff can be lethal.”  ~ Terry Eagleton

“Let the human mind loose. It must be loose. It will be loose. Superstition and dogmatism cannot confine it.”~ John Adams to his son, President John Quincy Adams

If you’ve succumbed to dogma and it’s bringing you to a crossroads, too, I invite you to listen in to my most recent podcast.

Click here to listen to Are You Defending Your Dogma? Use it as an opportunity for personal reflection and a possible mental reset.

Maura Sweeney in Foundations of Happiness

Want more insight into the topic of defending your dogma and opening yourself to new ideas?

Watch the following video entitled Welcome to Paris’ Arch de Triiumph . . . or not! See how our reality can be altered as new information arises.

Read the following blog from Budapest, Hungary entitled Thoughts We’ve Erected in Our Mind. Let it serve as a visual for dogmas you might have unwittingly built inside your head.

Watch the following video entitled The Other White House – Bucharest, Romania. Discover what can happen when we surround ourselves with only those who tell us what we want to hear.

Wishing you open doors to new thoughts, greater horizons and always more happiness! 

Maura Sweeney in Ulcinj Montenegro

An International Speaker on Influence, Leadership and Emotional Intelligence

Find Maura’s podcasts on iTunes and Stitcher

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