Friday, June 29, 2007

What's the Point?

Having recently become a father again (and the whole process is going quite well so far), I'm filled with this desire to call up people who I tend to have had difficulties with, and try to wish them well, and tell them they can be happy.

It seems that the vast majority of humanity can agree on how precious children are, and how the ties of family, friends, ... our humanity itself, I guess, ... ought to be life-sustaining and virtuous, rather than burdensome and sordid.

One-on-one, we all seem to try to treat our personal circles of contacts decently.

But it's when we get to the wider-scale, the public political scale, that our ideas about how best to treat one another, how best to serve humanity, can become abstract, coldly abstract, and we can persist in the mindless pursuit of our schemes regardless of the personal costs to others.

What I mean is that most of us are well-intentioned, but different levels of intelligence, different worlds of experience, and different degrees of accuracy in the information with which we build our intellectual constructs, mean that some of us are more likely to achieve our intentions than others.

What is necessary, extremely necessary, is honesty to one's own self. If you are honest to yourself, you are more likely to tell the truth to others. When we come upon new facts, new arguments, that challenge our beliefs, the proper response is not to shut them out, and pretend that they haven't punctured your theories. The proper response is not to bluff, inventing counter-facts in order to escape from a genuine tight-spot in a debate. The proper response is to allow these new facts to set in, and let them do what they will to your mental sand-castles.

If you are going to pass on values to your children (and my first brush with the responsibilities of parenthood almost a decade-and-a-half ago is what made me truly care about values and changing the world at a time when I was seriously considering becoming a televangelist or a self-help guru) it is best if you yourself belief the values you intend to impart.

Be honest and truthful to yourselves and to each other and to the children.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Great post.

I am going to try really hard to state my position clearly. Becuase I also want a better world for my children.