Man is an animal suspended in webs of significance that he himself has spun...

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Control, False Knowledge, and Truth

Much going on in the world today.  I can't speak to any one thing in particular but I do have a few guidelines I use when I think about these things.  You are free to reject them or use them as you wish.

Control:  Ultimately we have no control over other people.  We can cajole, threaten, try to make them happy, try to make them miserable but in the end they will do what they will do.  And sometimes the more we try to manipulate or force, the more people resist.  Even when we believe we are acting in their best interests.

What we don't know:  A small bit of humility goes a long way.  We read the headlines or search the internet for information and have the illusion that we understand what's happening.  Not true.  In fact, we could have been in the next town over when something happened and we would still have missed a great deal.  Better to assume a certain level of ignorance than to sally forth in arrogant false knowledge.

Truth:  John Waters once said, "Just because something 'happens', because it is 'true,'  because the 'facts' are correct, does not ensure that it is the truth."  Truly big lies always contain an element of truth if only to make them plausible or credible.  If we are comfortably in the majority in our little limited world, beware.  That is not "truth" -  that is 'groupthink."

And finally before we decide that "something must be done"  best talk to the people who we are asking to submit to our vision of a better world.  That means a direct (in so far that it's possible) conversation with the people on the ground.  What do they think?  What are their desires?  Do they want help?

And that may be the most important thing to keep in mind here:  people, however poor or abused in our eyes, are nonetheless actors in their own right.  They are human beings with dignity that must be respected, not passive creatures who should stand by while their betters decide their fate.  They should have a say in all this and if they don't appear to have a voice, then here is something we could and should do:  listen.


2 comments:

Catherine said...

Very well said, I think. ~Catherine

multiculturalmeanderings said...

Good reminder - I agree.