Why write, even if it’s politically incorrect or assuredly offensive to some or many? Because it’s been the best means of expressing myself. Why my thoughts should matter to anyone, is up to them to decide, although I admit my expressions are not inherently superior to any other’s. I’m amused and at the same time incredulous that I find it necessary to add disclaimers when expressing a view, whether it be my opinion, observation, or simple explanation of a philosophical view which I may or may not hold. I find it indispensable to try as much as possible to at least understand where people are coming from. This facilitates progress, understanding, and, of course, empathy.
However, I’ve perceived an incredible lack of will to even go as far as trying to sincerely understand another perspective. This goes hand in hand with an incapability or an unwillingness to permit the possibility of one being wrong or incomplete in an understanding, simultaneously dismissing the “other”; and it implies an assumed maliciousness in carriers of different ideas. This may be so, but for it to be the automatic assumption is also assuming the position of omniscience.
No one is exempt from combating this part of themselves. The difference lies in the degree to which one engages in this combat, or to the degree one lazily refuses to allow honesty the chance of giving clarity to one’s life. I agree, it’s often tiring to show up to battle, because it’s much easier to take the path of least resistance, the one that causes you the least amount of pain, embarrassment and inconvenience. I feel the fear often. Nonetheless, if I love truth and right, then I should have the faith (trust) to rest in the assurance that truth can defend itself against any attack in whichever form, be it distortion, misinterpretation, misunderstanding, ignorance and even lies (be they out of fear or any other reason). The level of scrutiny one is willing to put their life and beliefs under determines the level of openness and sincerity, as well as security in one’s position.
It IS difficult to try and check my own biases and tendencies to assume and prejudge (before you have enough information to come to a conclusion). I often realize time after time that I’ve got a long way to go, and probably will never be totally free of this tendency. Having expressed all this, I have a vague conception that many others who aim to live their lives as honestly as possible may hold sincere beliefs and perceptions of reality that I must credit, for they are living to the best of their knowledge and ability. Knowing exactly who the honest and dishonest folks are is also something I dare not tread on, although one can sometimes make a reasonable guess. Instinct is usually right, but I find that instinct is often garbled and distorted by other biases. Moments of lucidity are often rarer and more difficult to be distinguished from the massiveness of noise.
Therefore I have decided to give as much respect and attention to others’ ideas as I hope they’d give me. If I am truly honest, then I wouldn’t be threatened by them. I fully expect a lot of people to be very upset by some or much of my positions. I am no comparison to Jesus, but if he being perfect was hated without reason, then I’m very confident that I will be hated as well–although not as much–but unlike Jesus, there will be imperfections in me that will give at least some ammunition to those who hate me. And it will happen.
So, what do I ask of you, dear reader? I don’t ask that you be so open-minded that your brain falls out (I love this expression). Firmness in one’s beliefs and way of living is to be admired, for it’s rare nowadays in the face of public opinion’s power and pressure to conform. I ask that you remember that I am fairly aware of my imperfections and shortcomings; but I also ask that you be aware of yours, for we are subject to the same forces. I ask that the reader remember that a disagreement does not equate to hate. I hate that my friend is a smoker because it will hurt his health; but I don’t hate HIM. Whether or not smoking is bad for you it’s irrelevant, as long as I truly and wholeheartedly believe it is so, because in this light, I’m only worried about you.
Confronting a different belief may make you very uncomfortable or angry. Ask yourself “why”? I promise to do the same. Don’t automatically assume everybody is out to get you or con you. Be careful, vigilant and prepared; but don’t let it rob you of the opportunity to pick up gems.
Last but not least, all opinions and comments are welcome, as long as they’re reasonably within the lines of decorum. Peace.