Misconceptions (The To Lose List pt.2)

The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language defines a “misconception” as “a mistaken thought, idea, or notion; a misunderstanding.” I however, having little to no academic clout I might add, have come to believe that this definition is far too reductionistic. This over simplification seems to have grossly domesticated and subdued a much more vivid imagery of what is actually occurring behind the scenes and below the surface.
In Genesis 4:1 it says that “Adam ‘knew’ Eve his wife and she ‘conceived’…” And so it is throughout the entirety of the scriptures that “knowing” becomes representative of an intimacy enacted in the relationship between that of a husband and wife. Thus there is a strong connection being made in “knowledge” running parallel to the vision of two star crossed lovers joining together, being unified, becoming one, and consummating their bond by spiritually and physically intertwining themselves with one another. Rooted deeply within this theme of “knowing” and “conceiving” is the law of reciprocity, sowing a seed and reaping a harvest. A seed is planted, conceived , and then birthed a new. It is through this lens that we see the nature of the mind as a cognitive womb. That being said feel free to turn down the lights, break out the candles, pour the wine, and put on some mood music, I’ll wait…
The metaphor surrounds us though we are often unaware. “Knowing” and “conceiving” , a dynamic affirmed in the richness and picturesque language of our own common tongue, so common in fact we often take it’s presence for granted. We daily speak of “concepts”, whether they are viewed as brilliant our obtuse is inconsequential we still attest to their “conception”. We often suggest that ideas are either “conceivable” or “inconceivable”, there by acknowledging the “seed’s” fertility or adversely it’s sterility. Thus to truly “know” something reflects a oneness with an idea at the most intimate of levels. It implies by, our own admonition no less, a soul bearing nakedness, an openness so trusting as to allow a notion to impart its seed into our very being, conceiving an understanding to be birthed as a foundational awareness.
This perspective now seems to paint a very different picture of the “conception” of a “misconception”, revealing the underlying intricacies and complexities there with in. The revelation however, is ambiguously unambiguous as such is often the case things are most frequently and most cleverly hidden in plain sight. Though I am far from a linguistics expert I do feel I can safely surmise that grammatically speaking a “misconception” is a compound word. Compound words being at their root the adjoining of two seemingly unrelated words both preexisting and previously established in their isolated definitions joined together into a unified oneness bearing something new that is beyond themselves in both meaning and context. This is an all too appropriate point in and of itself given the subject matter, but “the rabbit hole” as we say does go deeper.
Though the definitive whole is greater than the sum of its parts, the adjoining components are worth examining. Of course it’s easy for me to suggest that, I’m the writer, I’m more than just a little biased and if I’m wrong this is going to get awkward. The prefix “mis-” means “ill”, “wrong”, “wrongly” etc…We also understand that “conception” is the very act of conceiving, it’s the fertilization or inception of a pregnancy. What we are then viewing is an “ill-conception” or a notion “wrongly conceived”. It’s a striking visualization, one that creates a sense that there is something more deeply troubling underneath it all.
As a result of this “wrongful conception” and because of all that is “ill-conceived” we are left with “illegitimate” ways of thinking and being. We have given birth to a “bastardized” knowledge base and worldview. These thoughts are not born of a desire for truth, quite the contrary, these thoughts claim that they alone are the truth. Conceived from greed and lustful ambition they are self-serving, self-satisfying, self-indulgent, and ultimately self-righteous. This masturbatory way of thought instills a false sense of indignation. The end justifies the means to such an extent that not only do we point out the speck in our neighbors eye while neglecting and overlooking the plank residing in our own eye, we are all the more willing to justify the plank’s presence there.
This may or may not be a result of the workings of our own hands, after all we are inhabitants of an agenda centric, media frenzied society. Around every turn we are bombarded and force fed someone or something’s belief system. From the right to the left, republicans, democrats, liberals, conservatives, billboards, big business, corporate America, and even corporate worship. The White House, the court house, and the church house are vying for a chance to break into your house. The House of Representatives, the self-proclaimed house of God, even the House of Pancakes, they’re all looking for an opportunity to “rape” your mind in an attempt to impart their seed, hoping you’ll conceive and bare their ideals.
It’s also interesting to note that the prefix “mis-” is negating. When used preceding various parts of speech it cancels and nullifies all that follows. Thus these ways of thinking are not only “ill-conceptions” but are also “void conceptions”. These conceptions are empty and absent of life. They are not conducive to growth or progress. They are the mental equivalent of a miscarriage, cognitive still birth, and intellectual and spiritual barrenness. They produce only stagnation and decay. They are resistant to progression because they are rooted in the gospel of “because I said so”. We are taught to never question or subvert because “this is just how it is” or because “ this is the way we’ve always done it”. Contrary to what we have been taught this is exactly where our salvation is found, in our questions. Questioning raises awareness of our misguided ways of being. Questions are willing to examine our belief systems by holding them up to the light and under the microscope and by comparatively analyzing and re-evaluating where we’ve been, where we are, and where we would hope to go. Questioning does not necessarily exemplify a distrust or irreverence, more often then not it is because of an immensely irrefutable reverence that we search out and re-examine. Questioning is born out of a desire to deepen, enrich, enliven, or impassion all that we hold dear and sacred. I believe firmly that our faithfulness to our beliefs is directly proportionate to our ability to question them. I have come to believe that not only is God unafraid of our questions, He welcomes them. You show me a god afraid of being questioned and I’ll show you a small and insufficient god. Madelaine L’Engle said “If my religion is true, it will stand up to all my questioning; there is no need to fear”. And so this wisdom rings true not only for God or religion, but faith, hope, love sex, king, country, truth, justice, government, and any other number of valued ideals too numerous to list. This seems to be our only way of legitimizing our “wrongfully conceived” notions and ridding ourselves of these hindrances weighing us down, blocking our paths, and seeking only to steal, kill, and destroy everything precious. By humbling what we have exalted we are ushered into an intimacy of “knowing” The Sacred and the realization that the need for honesty far exceeds our need to be right.

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