Friday, January 2, 2009

Persistent Plumbing

It is necessary to the happiness of man
that he be mentally faithful to himself.

Thomas Paine


One of the benefits of growing up is the liberation of being able to weigh one's thoughts in the scales of reality and results. I am weary and disgusted at having my thinking corrected by any patronizing individual whose ability to think for him or herself is suspect. I've had my acting corrected by those who daren't set foot on a stage in front of an audience. I've had my announcing corrected by those who would be petrified in front of an open microphone.

When I was in the 6th Grade our teacher Mrs. Coleman, asked the class what they liked to watch on TV. It so happened that I enjoyed watching the UN proceedings in the afternoon. They were broadcast over the PBS station with no editorial comment. Even though I didn't completely understand all the nuances of the political and diplomatic maneuvers, I was fascinated by seeing all those men from the various different countries coming together to talk about some issue. I had a map from the UN so I could see where the people came from. When it was my turn to respond to Mrs. Coleman's question and I said I liked to watch the UN, in front of the entire class she called me a liar. Not having learned, at that young age, the technique of sticking up for myself, I let it pass. But I will never forget that insult. (Wasn't that the same school where Mr. O'Conner, the science teacher, told you that man could never fly to the Moon? No further questions, Your Honor.)

Be careful that someone doesn't try to exercise some degree of authority over your thinking, Most of the authorities in the world, aren't. Even if you seem to let them, out of love or respect, retain the right to pass their words and ideas through the prism of your own self-knowledge. That's where you live, warts and all. Everything else is costume and make up.

Listening, understanding, compassion, advice and open discussion are good things. But beware you don't try to exercise a willful, judgmental, even well meaning, rearrangement of someone else's thinking. At the last trumpet we are alone with the creator and creation, and answerable to ourselves, to our own honesty.

DB - The Vagabond

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