What Matters MOST
It Was the Best of Times. It Was the Worst of Times. Many times, competitions, like the elections, especially the elections which affects us so broadly and deeply, bring out the worst in us. Because of our goal to win, we start seeing things as either being for us or against us. So any post, comment, video, news article, etc that seems to agree with us, we automatically celebrate and share, without any thought to its validity, accuracy, and message. What if what resonated with us so well is actually untrue? And any post, comment, video, news article, etc, that seems to NOT agree with us we attack, without any thought to its validity, accuracy, and message. What if what they had to say actually makes a strong point? Should we miss the chance to learn something new, to see a different perspective, to be more informed simply because it wasn’t our initial position? Is it wrong to think through an opposing viewpoint? Nope. Is it bad to do so? Nope. That’s how learning happens. Let me give a simple example, I see a kettle, I think it isn’t hot, I touch it, it hurts, then I learn it is hot. My fingers coming into contact with the heat of the kettle has informed my mind that my initial thought that the kettle wasn’t hot, is untrue, and that I shouldn’t touch it. This is a good thing of course. This ability protects us. Now if I were to get angry, “Why did that kettle burn me??? That kettle shouldn’t be hot! I should be able to touch it!” we stress over something we can just learn from. Or if I am in denial, “That kettle wasn’t hot! My fingers are wrong for feeling pain!” then we miss a simple chance to learn. The point is this: We learn many times through having an assumption, testing it against proven standards, and checking whether our assumptions were right. It’s that simple. So don’t be so quick to react to another view point. Test it. There’s a great quote by Aristotle, “It’s the mark of an educated man to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” This means, the ability to consider concepts and ideas without jumping to conclusions about it, the ability to test it separate from how we feel or what others think, is the mark of someone who has more developed mental abilities. I think this skill is incredibly important in a Democracy because there will be swirling view points that may or may not agree with us, and we need to be intelligent enough to consider them, test them, and respond in a way that is inline with what we value. Or else we will just keep reacting, even if our reaction is irrelevant to the thing we’re reacting to. For example, I’ve been posting on the elections with mainly these 4 themes:
- We should understand the Democratic process and participate
- That we should base our decision on sound principles, not simply “my dream” or react to circumstances
- That I personally put an extremely high value on the life and freedom of every individual, and that I value life and freedom even more than the promise of security and comfort, that I cannot call Christian what makes so cheap what Christ made valuable.
- That I am undecided about who to vote for president
- They don’t like active participation (which would mean they like apathy?)
- They don’t like Democracy (which would mean they don’t want the privilege of a free society?)
- They don’t like the idea of principles (which would mean they want a world without principles?)
- They don’t value human life (which would mean they don’t value themselves and their loved ones? Or they think their lives and lives of their loved ones are more important than the lives of others?)
- They’re so sensitive to people not agreeing with them, that even an undecided person is someone to challenge because he doesn’t agree with the same position
- They’re not actually reading, considering, and testing. They’re reacting and defending.