Can you really experience anything objectively?
It seems clear to me that none of us can experience anything “as it is” independent of our experience.
It seems that anything that makes it all the way through sensory systems and subconscious neural processing to conscious awareness has already undergone a vast amount of processing, which is influenced by the pathways set up by our prior experience.
It seems clear that we are each of us, in a sense, the sum of our experiences and the associations our neural networks make of those experiences, at whatever levels of abstraction we are capable of at that time.
It seems clear that part of our “experience” is the culture we are born into, with all the stories and modes of understanding, perception and classification that are inherent to that culture.
It seems that our neural networks are initially configured simply to accept what is given. Questioning and critiquing comes later. Thus we all have a significant cultural conditioning at the core of our neural systems, whatever our current level of consciousness and awareness.
So it seems that our ability to distinguish and to interpret anything is strongly flavoured by our past experience, and a lot of that experience will be cultural in origin, so pure objectivity seems to be a myth.
And acknowledging that, it seems that one can attempt to compensate for cultural, conceptual, biological, systems and historic biases as they come to awareness; and produce ever closer approximations to objectivity in the process.
I align with you completely, right up to the last paragraph, which seems to me to offer a different version of your aforementioned “mass insanity”. Ultimately it all comes back to us as individuals, however much we are part of societies or social groups.
Then looks we are on the same page.
I listen to those I trust, then make my own decision about what to do.
And I fully agree, that none of us is an island. Of all the knowledge and skills crammed into this skull of mine, the vast majority were developed by others, and I simply copied. Way over 99%. I have had some responsibility for the selection of what got copied and what got left out, that makes up the set of stuff that is me. That’s about the best I can claim.