Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Talk is sound

Political theory and the summersault acrobatics of language make me tired. It seems to me the human mind can hardly hold on to complicated ideas, and so it clings to simple ones uncluttered with inconvenient facts or circumstances. It can with athletic ease disregard information that challenges assumptions and cling with blood-ties to fragments of truth that support a pre-conceived universe.

Like 'the free market is the answer. If you take away people's money, they won't have incentive to work hard, and besides, if the government can't spend money responsibly, why would we give it to them.'


'the rich are poisonous vacuums that hoard and support a wealth gap that suffocates the poor in an endless cycle.. until the gap is so severe that the poor rise up, overthrow the aristocracy, and redistribute by force.'

and so we get the endless unconstructive cycle of debate that gives shape to partisanship and stagnation.

This same calcification of thought, i.e. the exchange of holistic understanding for informative cherry picking, is not just seen in politics. It is seen in religion. It is seen in family history and the disappointments of family. It is why we stay angry at a sibling for years, or our mother, or a friend. It is why we stop asking questions in our twenties and hang like weak handed children to a few facts that sound right in a dinner argument.

What if we clung to the first and second commandments of Jesus? That alone is a life's work. Instead we cling to Ayn Rand or John Piper.

I'm speaking out of both sides of my mouth.

Because I believe people cling to two types of simple things.

1. Simple fragments of truth that make men fools. These are used as weapons to maintain a status as 'right.'
2. Simple foundations of truth that make men great. These are used as quiet humble fuel for action and example.

All this talk engages me, challenges me to take part in the constructive dialogue (if it exists) of building a better future... because the founding fathers of America believed that ideas could change the system, and they did.

I also believe this to be true:

“Mark this well, you proud men of action! You are, after all, nothing but unconscious instruments of the men of thought.” – Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel.

And so I think.

But I get tired...

and see great merit in leaving my hat on a hook at the front door, stepping out of my living room, and living amongst the real problems of real people.

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