Each of us has the ability to see and interpret things for ourselves. Yet, all too often we allow other people to influence our personal judgment. Sometimes we even neglect to investigate the truth for ourselves.
Dishonesty and deceit run rampant in the political world. Every media outlet has its own “spin”, however well-intentioned the editors might be. And, anyone can create a website intended specifically to mislead and direct our thinking. Every day we are presented with alternative realities based more on rumor and imagination than on serious investigation.
How can we test the accuracy of our beliefs and assumptions? What protection can we find for personal independence in the midst of social upheaval? There are ways to do this using the internet, if we are truly curious and intent on searching for accuracy.
We are human. We can never fully comprehend the reality in which we live, physically or spiritually. Yet, I firmly believe that hidden behind every disruption and every illusion a dependable underlying order exists.
Otherwise no civilization would be possible, and the perfections of the physical universe could never have come into being.
The human world survives repeated cataclysms, always recovering its balance and somehow progressing despite incessant delusions, duplicity, and chicanery.
In the previous post I wrote of the boundaries we must navigate between freedom and justice as we move through life. This foundational structure cannot be altered or manipulated. We spend our youth learning to recognize and accommodate ourselves to it. And, under normal conditions we begin to take it for granted.
Religious people may recognize this truth as a manifestation of God’s Grace. Others might see it as a function of the integrity of the natural order in the universe. I believe both are true.
Without this stability our lives would always be dominated by anxiety. And, the disorder in today’s world is cutting us off from this security, causing a massive excess of anxiety all around us.
A balanced and coherent unity can be recognized in both the human and natural worlds, when our vision is freed from myths and manipulation.
The elegant equilibrium found in nature will, if left alone, always manage itself with a sensitive, yet robust and resilient functionality. Human society, too, has a purposeful balance. Can we imagine the terror we would experience as social order disintegrates?
Whether in human affairs or in the natural world, any disruption or harm will result in consequences that may not be immediately apparent. Yet the repercussions of injury and injustice spread rapidly as each impact leads to others in widening circles of instability.
What does this mean for freedom?
Surely we all know that freedom depends on a just, dependable and predictable world. So it is that freedom and responsibility are interdependent.
While dialog and consultation offer essential safeguards, the ability to recognize the consequences of our own actions, “to see the end in the beginning,” is perhaps most important.
This is a capacity we can develop in ourselves. The perceptive capacities we possess allow us—if we are responsible—to determine our course of action more freely, safely, and independently.
And, recognizing the potential after-effects of our own deeds allows us a degree of protection from engaging in overly emotional, ill-conceived, or destructive acts.
A cursory review of human history reveals numerous examples of poorly conceived actions leading to disastrous consequences. As we have all seen, both individuals and groups are quite capable of falling into error.
How does this happen? Well, sometimes we think we have everything figured out when, in fact, our information is limited and we are only aware of a part of the truth.
Sometimes we fail to speak with people who are right around us.
It is important that we consult with others, and to listen for diversity of experience and perspective when we do so. Only then can we step back to think critically for ourselves.
These are among the lessons that will allow us to build safety and strength for ourselves and for America.
You may watch for the next post on or about July 28.