[November 22, 2022] The ancient sages of the past gave us some darn good advice, and that is, “find your own words.” And, if those are truthful words, then there is nothing that can stop you. The power of the truth rings throughout all cultures and at all times.
Are you a sovereign individual? Or not? If you are, and I believe so based on my experiences, then you have a specific power; the power of your convictions and truth and your ability to communicate it. That is what sets your being straight. If you have any sense, you are seeking truth.
Truth is the best reflection you can manage of reality (imperfect because you are not perfect). And what could be better than having truth on your side? And what is going to stand in your way if you have reality on your side? Lies? No! That is not how life works.
If you have someone you love, for example, your child, and you are trying to raise them decently, you don’t tell them that the best way to be successful in life is to be the most brilliant and best-disguised liar possible. No one does that.
Why not? If we believed in falsehoods, that would be the right thing to teach, but you don’t; you teach your children to tell the truth, even if it is painful. We teach children to tell the truth because we believe in the power of the truth.
There is an exciting scene in Revelations in the Bible (20:11-15). In it, Christ comes back to earth and is not the merciful savior of the gospels. He’s the judge. And there is a reason for that; if you have an ideal – and no matter what we think Christ is, he is an ideal – then the ideal is a judge.
The ideal judges you. In Revelations, Christ comes back as a judge with a sword in his mouth (19:15) to judge the saved and the damned. And here is what is very interesting. Christ saves his worst contempt and uses contemptuous language, not if you are a terrible person, but if you are the one who sits on the fence. You want to play it both ways (e.g., I’ll lie when it’s convenient to me and tell the truth that way too). This places you in the category of the damned. Because that is cowardice.
If you believe in the truth, you put yourself on the line for the truth but don’t play the two sides against the middle because there is nothing in that but self-serving at the cost of yourself and the cost of everyone else. You have to think about your relationship to the truth. There isn’t anything more important than that.
Courage. It is an essential part of trust. Most people who trust are naïve. Naïve is not a virtue; it’s a fault. If you are naïve and you run into someone evil, that evil might do you severe damage that you may never recover. If you’re not naïve, that means you’ve been burned once or several times. And once you’ve been burned, it’s hard to trust because you fear being betrayed, and that can make you cynical (although that is an improvement over naïve).
The real question here is, how do you get over this conundrum? This is a crucial thing to know. You trust people because you are courageous. The same reason you are grateful; it’s a mark of courage and commitment.
There is a risk in trusting others. Trust is the trait upon which our lives with others are based. The evidence for this is quite strong. There is no other natural resource than trust. And, for trust, you need courage, not naivety. To do so means you overcome your cynicism so that you trust.
Ask yourself, if you don’t trust your institutions like marriage, family, community, government, culture, and such, then what? They are our institutions; if we don’t like them, do something about them. Join them; they are your institutions. Work to make improvements in them diligently. Have your say. Do your homework. Speak your mind. That is how you can have more effect than you could ever imagine.
If you are cynical about those institutions, then look in the mirror because the corruption of those institutions is a direct reflection of your inability to get your act together. That’s what it means to be a sovereign part of your community. It’s not someone else; it’s you!
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