You can pretty much be sure we’re all going to get things wrong in the course of living our lives.
It’s to be hoped that we do that far less of the time than we manage to come to the correct answers. That’s even more desirable as we mature and hopefully become wiser.
I’ve made it my business, to be more interested in being correct, than successful, popular or even liked. I’m not trying to say I seek to be disliked. Nor am I indicating that successful people cannot be good and righteous. The same can be said about popularity. Just because you seek rectitude, doesn’t mean you can’t seek to be popular, successful, and liked as well.
In my search for truth, I’ve managed to alienate folks. As a rule, I never had any desire to get crosswise of any of them. There are a few exceptions—mostly people who chose and reveled in “wrongness.” For the most part though, my intent was to present reality as I saw it, then have discussions with folks as to how I or they might be missing it.
At times, putting what I believe out there, has not been easy for a variety of reasons.
Sometimes, the personal experience of another seems counter to what I’ve said. Sometimes the truth and what I believed were entirely different things. Thankfully, the latter doesn’t happen all that often.
In all this, the pursuit and expression of what I believe has been generally profitable. The reason for this is actually pretty simple. When you take the time to put out there for all to see, what you hold to be real and meaningful, you’d better be prepared for at least three things.
The first of these, is to be challenged—potentially even ridiculed for your utterances.
People will often, given the chance, go so far as to belittle your entire existence if you express certain things as part of your understanding of that which is true.
This is made harder by the realization that, the reason many folks do this, is that they’re either insecure in their way of looking at life and the world, or have experienced things that seem to be counter to that which you make known as your perspective. And at times, things others have gone through are painful.
Among other things, this leads to clouded judgement. They deal with something heartbreaking and sadly, they sometimes conflate the thing you’re expounding in the public square with that thing.
This is the much more difficult because a decent person should have—in my opinion—no desire to cause another yet more pain by arguing truth or righteousness with them in their time of distress.
Through all of this, one desires to remain a stalwart defender of that which is good, right, and true. That’s difficult when you know others are hurting, and frankly, often desire nothing more or less than comfort, or to be left alone.
The second thing for which you need to be ready, is to prove your ability to defend that which you have projected. This is not nearly so easy as it sounds, since the desire to do so needs to be tempered with an equal interest in maintaining one’s integrity—to stay true to one’s moral compass, and to be sure you’re not supporting things strictly because you don’t want to lose the argument, or the thing you’re defending.
That’s actually a nice little segue into the third thing for which you must be ready. Simply put it is, “Being wrong about what you believe.”
For a large part of my life, I’ve been pretty skilled at what could be considered debate or argument. The result is, if I’m not careful, I can make strong cases for things that ultimately prove to be false or bad.
If the ability to convince is a strong part of your skillset, it behooves you to be very careful to choose those things upon which you practice your persuasive abilities.
One learns—sometimes far too late in life—the importance of not just choosing things of gravity about which to speak, but also the supreme need to fall on the correct side of those things when you do so.
The difficulty though is, to some degree, it can be hard to admit when you’ve made an error; when you’ve supported some thing you ought not to have held up, or when you’ve argued a position with regard to a matter that was not right.
I try very hard to keep an open mind; to truly consider it when people bring me new information or data that’s compiled or composed differently causing it to at least seem to mean something heretofore not seen or known of me.
I work to keep myself in a place where I can say three simple words, “I was wrong.”
Having a Moderately Autistic son who sees the world in ways I cannot, makes this a great deal easier, since I often must apologize to him for “missing” things he clearly sees.
Believe it or not, these realities make it that much harder when I must regretfully tell someone the converse, that I was correct, or at least, that the view they’ve advanced hasn’t changed my perspective. Again, that’s considering I want to accept things that are valid and allow them to change what I believe if they’re truly relevant.
When things all shake out though, in the end, I must be true to what I believe. Politics don’t matter, personal biases shouldn’t be a factor, my pain or discomfort ought not skew my position.
Am I saying I’m free from all such externals? Of course not. I may seek to remove them from my consideration, but I’m likely to never be entirely successful doing so. In fact, that’s part of the reason I continue to write, and when possible, speak.
The final point I’d like to make is, where I take pains here to say I’m sorry for causing others heartache, I flatly refuse to apologize for airing my opinions with the express intent of hearing agreement and opposing views. Discourse makes it possible for me and others to both experiment in, and more importantly, learn more about, our universe. I’m truly sorry if that’s a problem for you, but I’ll continue on my current course until and unless someone can tell me why I shouldn’t do so.
Thanks for reading, and may your time be good.