Reflecting on the Limitations of Popular Teachings in Modern Times

Simon d'Orlaq
3 min readNov 29, 2023

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In my observation of contemporary spiritual and self-help landscapes, I’ve grown increasingly skeptical of the popular teachings that seem to permeate our culture, especially in the West. These teachings, often encapsulated in catchy phrases like “be in the moment” or “let go, everything will be fine,” appear to offer solace and wisdom, but on closer inspection, I find them to be oversimplifications of the complex tapestry of human experience.

The Oversimplification of Life’s Challenges

One of my key concerns is the manner in which these teachings tend to simplify life’s challenges. While the idea of letting go can be liberating in certain contexts, it often feels like an inadequate response to the multifaceted problems we face. Life, in my view, requires a more engaged and proactive approach, something these teachings frequently overlook.

Beyond Living in the Present

The focus on living solely in the present moment, another staple of these teachings, also strikes me as somewhat limiting. While there’s undeniable value in being present, I believe it diminishes the rich capabilities we possess as human beings — our ability to reflect on our past and plan for our future. To neglect these aspects feels like an underutilization of our full potential.

Reevaluating Peace as a Life Goal

The elevation of peace as the ultimate goal of life is another aspect I find questionable. Peace, along with happiness, love, and joy, is undoubtedly important, but positioning it as the pinnacle of human achievement seems to overlook the broader spectrum of human experiences and emotions that contribute to a fulfilling life.

Using Personal Intelligence as a Guide

I strongly advocate for the use of personal intelligence in discerning the value of teachings and philosophies. We must critically analyze these teachings, experimenting with them in the context of our lives, and retaining only what proves beneficial. This approach emphasizes personal experience and understanding over passive acceptance of popular wisdom.

The Search for Comfort vs. Real Solutions

There’s a significant difference, in my opinion, between seeking comfort and seeking real solutions. Many popular teachings offer comfort, which can be helpful in certain situations but doesn’t necessarily address deeper life issues. For those in pursuit of more profound answers, a deeper, more introspective journey is required.

Internal Management of Psychological States

I am also convinced that our psychological states must be managed internally. Since these states are self-generated, their management cannot rely solely on external factors or teachings. This viewpoint encourages a more introspective and self-reliant approach to mental and emotional well-being.

Conclusion: Beyond Conventional Wisdom

In conclusion, while popular teachings can provide initial guidance, I believe in the importance of moving beyond them to develop a personal understanding of life. This involves a journey of exploration, questioning, and self-discovery, where one’s wisdom and experiences become the primary guiding forces. In this way, we can find a path to fulfillment and understanding that is uniquely our own.

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