MyNews24 is a user-generated section of The stories here come from users.

Comments: 30
Article views: 485
Latest Badges:

View all Hanjo's badges.

A Call for a Conscious Society

16 August 2013, 12:27

Long-standing practices were usually thought to require an evolutionary basis, or at the very least enjoyment or benefit to those practicing it, for its existence. In short, a practice had to be part of your nature, beneficial and/or enjoyable otherwise why else would it persist within society.

We however now know that while practices can be passed down from one generation to the next through genes, it can as easily be passed down as memes, usually through culture, tradition or religion. It is also crucial to note that indoctrinated ideas (or memes) can be irrational or detrimental and yet persist within society.     

It is quite possible for people to traffic in ideas and other cultural products that diminish their well-being for centuries on end.” – Sam Harris

It is also important to note that even if a practice or trait has an evolutionary basis for its existence, it can still be demonstrably irrational, detrimental or both.  – To elaborate, we know that if a trait or practice exists as a product of evolution, it must have been beneficial to our species at some point, however it seems very possible that a trait could go from ‘beneficial’ to ‘unnecessary’ and then to ‘detrimental’ in a few hundred years or even less, especially if this change is aided by substantial changes to our environment and general circumstances.

With all the above mentioned in mind, it seems rather illogical to hold an opinion or participate in a practice merely because the opinion or practice has its roots in culture or tradition.

The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd; indeed in the view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a widespread belief is more likely to be foolish than sensible” – Bertrand Russell

Yet many of our opinions relating to some of the most crucial aspects of society are usually trapped inside the confines of tradition, culture and religion and these opinions are simultaneously granted a somewhat sacred status. 

Unfortunately, if you allow tradition, culture or religion to dictate your actions and beliefs rather than, or at the expense of, evidence, logic and reason, you forfeit your position as a conscious member of society. You essentially render yourself unconscious to available evidence, arguments and logical conclusions. 

Just to clarify my message, I’m not rallying against cultural, traditional and religious ideas as such, nor am I trying to label culture, tradition or religion as unnecessary or negative, I am instead opposing the sacred status that these ideas, opinions or practices are afforded, the way they become the unquestionable truth and the way they demand respect and too often receive it.

In order to prosper as a country and as a species, we require a society of conscious citizens, willing to recognize and discard their own biases, willing to be objective and rational in determining their opinions, willing to recognize that others may be trapped by indoctrination and willing to extend the necessary sympathy and understanding that goes along with that recognition.
Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Thandolwethu Mene
South African ICC exit a step in ...

What is the International Criminal Court and what is its purpose? Read more...

0 comments 2242 views
Submitted by
Michael Mondli Hlophe
Defeating Privilege

Many sceptics will probably read the topic and move on to the next without giving the article the time of day. Privilege is however something that needs to be addressed. Read more...

0 comments 1780 views
Submitted by
Mark Nancarrow
Why I love Cambodia’s capital

There are so many reasons to hate Cambodia’s bite sized capital of Phnom Penh. Open sewers, naked children, piles of burning garbage on every street. Its a dirty, smelly, noisy amalgam. But Phnom Penh grows on you and by the time you leave it will occupy a special place in your heart. Read more...

0 comments 427 views
Submitted by
Nkanyiso Land Tumi
Fees must fall movement is unforg...

I am very shocked to see students protesting in the presence of police as if they're criminals. Read more...

0 comments 4801 views
Submitted by
De Wet Ferreira
Put the 'heal' Back into Mental H...

We all know what do when we cut or scratch ourselves, right? Our first response, without even thinking about it, is to go for the medicine cabinet – grabbing the antiseptic ointment and a plaster or two.  Read more...

0 comments 301 views
Submitted by
Colin Harding
Western cape dams are 30% lower t...

Not to understate the seriousness of the drought that South Africa is caught up in, I am a little concerned when local government state one statistic and the DWA have a different statistic. Read more...

0 comments 1230 views


E-mail Alerts The latest headlines in your inbox

RSS feeds News delivered really simply.

Mobile News24 on your mobile or PDA

E-mail Newsletters You choose what you want

News24 on Android Get the latest from News24 on your Android device.

SMS Alerts Get breaking news stories via SMS.

TV Get us in your home, on your television.

Interactive Advertising Bureau
© 2016 All rights reserved.
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.