A Maze constructed by the Mind
From fiction to spiritual observation, we constantly evoke the concept of Maya - the illusory nature of reality, and represent it constantly through modernised tales such as Alice in Wonderland, The Matrix and even as truth by self-important thought prophets that nudge public opinion towards the idea that we live in a simulation. While I am in no position to opine on intentions, the irony for minds that are obsessed with rationality, constantly tries to conjure up ways to impart ideas that reiterate the illusory nature of reality. It is probably true that external voices that challenges one's idea of reality could be a means to supplant other ideas, but therein lies the danger of deconstructing oneself through the ego of intelligence to be susceptible to ideological capture.
If rationality is not treated as a tool and a mere product of applied intelligence of the mind, it is easy to slip into the belief that it is a moralised, ultimate good that acts as the all encompassing means to understand reality. The slippery slope that one finds themselves towards a materialistic view of the world, in contrary pulls away from acknowledging the epistemic humility required to understand us, the world and the universe in any meaningful way.
Simply put, you can rationalise your way into complete brain-rot lunacy if you pray on the altar of rationalism, and this is coming from a person that values the importance of being rational.
The clamps that pull you deeper into it's depths
We over identify ourselves with our ego, a multifaceted baggage of various beliefs about our identity, even going so far beyond the pale and changing the fundamental meaning of words to suit the pride of our egos. Caught in the vicious cycle of inflating the ego, further feeding it with self-destructive ideas and acts in the delusion that it is the path to a happy life. Perhaps that is true in some sense, a 'happy' life requires maximisation of one's ego and reframing of perception, but such a 'happy' life may be a life lived in ignorance, regret and an eventual maximisation of suffering - otherwise understood to be a hedonistic life with dire consequences.
Though, it pains me to say it's not just a hedonistic outlook that drags one's soul deeper into the depths, but a misguided but purposeful endeavor as well. I used to follow a certain content creator and a media company he created, witnessing them spiraling into an audience captured, ideological chauvinism of being born British. While I espouse a marriage of productive eastern and western philosophies; building a bridge between two worlds through a non-materialistic outlook, I have been witnessing them demonise cultures outside their own and shrug any impropriety they've committed as the right of a once dominant empire, to justify an unbelievably ego-centric ideological possession.
The irony of course, is that the people they criticise regularly are almost identically on the opposite end of this hyper-politicised ideological camp. Blind to the fact that the very slippery slope they blame others to be on, applies to them as well. I bring this up to illustrate that even the ones who are supposedly battling monsters, engage in the same game of inflating one's ego and allow it to pull them down into the depths gradually, all in the name of an empire that has decayed and died by the very sword it used to slay others with. Clawing at dirt in denial that the world they once knew is long gone, having sold it to foreign interests for profit. As the old adage goes, you reap what you sow. It's never too late to course correct.
Self-unawareness, ignorance and foolish pride are the recipes for disaster, where the sinister plots by the demons of your own ego is truly materialised.
Breaking the chain and ending the vicious cycle.
It is important to recognise that we indulge in over-identifying ourselves with one thing or another does not only start internally, but also externally by various voices. Even by 'friendly' ones that seem to combat philosophical materialists, as much as it hurts me to express. Subversion happens in all forms, and the best principles are not spared, there is nothing too sacred for the ones who seek to corrupt, which should inform us that it is extremely important to not just be another voice among a misguided reactionary mob.
It is deeply important that attachment and identification to any ideology gets reassessed regularly by oneself if it meets the standards and principles we have on ourselves, a sort of self reflection and meditation into rebalancing ourselves to achieve the service we owe to truth and ultimately ourselves. While I am not nearly equipped enough or wise enough to give prescriptions to life in general, I am intimately familiar with the dark paths one could unknowingly take in service of the ego.
Non-conformity, should not only be against a cultural zeitgeist to thwart tyranny, but also against the zeitgeist affecting oneself to abolish the tyranny of one's own ego against the self. It becomes clear and crucial to know that you are not just your mind, but you are definitely not the ideas you have come to merely adopt.
Humility need not come with a price, as Shame is merely a consequence of unearned Pride.