Everyone wants your mind. Ideologies of every sort are competing for your limited mental resources. They do not win only if they can convince you with arguments, they also win if they can monopolize your focus.
Take Scientology as an example. The ontic behind this religion is rich with concepts and nomenclature that take years to acquire. Once you are convinced that that truth lies somewhere within the ideology, you then invest enormous amounts of time, energy and money that you are told will lead to that truth. You have no time to assess the possibility that truth lies somewhere else. Years later, whenever you want to reassess whether the ideology’s claim to truth was valid, you must forcefully lay aside all these vested interests to do so with integrity.
However, too often the vested interests have merged with identity, purpose and worth to such a depth that the individual can no longer back away from their assumptions to make an honest assessment.
This is the tactic of many ideologies. They claim your lack of comprehension is not an indication of the incoherency of their tenets, but rather a demonstration of your ignorance or lack of faith, then tell you that you simply need more faith or more dedication to the pursuit of the truths that they assure you are forthcoming. The deeper they can pull you in, the more difficult the extraction effort.
And there are hundreds of such ideologies, and thousands of potential years of study, schooling and training you could devote yourself to. In a recent exchange, I had one “enlightened” individual even suggesting that it would take around 30 years of focus on his particular religion before one could even begin to make a proper assessment of its veracity. What’s a truth-seeker to do?
Here’s my advice. Spend most of your time developing critical thinking skills. Avoid ideologies that shove top-down ontological systems at you. Use your critical thinking skills to assess the claims of the ideology prior to investing a great deal of your resources to it. Learn to think skeptically. And remember that you’ll be enticed to make such a commitment by others who have made the mistake of premature investment, and now wish to validate their own investment in the ideology through your recruitment.