113 How we improved the world by ourselves

Contrasting positions

Religious

There are a few people whose first attitude about me is “you are going to Hell.” Surprisingly, they mean well by that. I let it go as an undefined mental conditioning and we get along peacefully. Occasionally, some may add “but I’m saved”—also undefined. If that makes them happy, far be it from me to burst the bubble. I am saddened by the mindset that holds people back from full brotherhood with this unsaved sinner. By sharing our humanity more deeply, we could have more meaning to each other. There are values we share deeply even in our religiously separated personalities.

There is no proof to the above assertions about the innate values of people. The ideas inherently emanate from cultural brainwashing that infiltrates without empirical verification. That is the nature of the supernatural claims in question. Such attitudes descend from a mindset which most of us see as self-limiting, even crippling. It certainly detracts from shared joy that could have been.

Political

Political brainwashing differs. Affairs of state are governed by different laws, rules that are subject to verification. Public statements are scrutinized according to standards of proof. In very recent months journalists have felt safe in appending the phrase “which is not true” when they quote the popular demagogue. I relax when I think that objective facts are now admissible.

There is a story behind the above accusation. Years ago, a friend forwarded to me an email that claimed that there had been more military casualties under President Clinton than under President Bush. I doubted that, even though clicking on the link opened a page that “proved” the assertion. Because the tone of the accusation was suspect, obviously biased, I did further research. By examining the email more closely I found that it displayed a legitimate website but linked underneath to a fraudulent imposter website. When I manually entered the genuine URL into my browser (bypassing the automated link) I came to a set of statistics that directly contradicted the fraudulent claim.

I am not a war statistician, but I had enough evidence to prove intent, that is, fraud. The perpetrators of the smear email claimed to present genuine fact and redirected the reader to falsehood. That deceit establishes the reliability of the genuine website because the detractors themselves validated it by presenting it as fact (and then made the deceptive substitution). The genuine URL, which they visually presented as truth, was the one that proved them wrong.

In response, I simply copied the table from the visible genuine URL. I pasted that table into a reply and hit “reply all.” Very shortly I received an angry email from one of the persons in that exchange who threatened lawsuit if I emailed him anything ever again. That was the proof of brainwashing. He had been trained that his prejudice was more valuable than the truth.

Does it matter?

There are always people following wrong ideas. Learning involves finding out what does not work. In our desire for perfection, we must not eradicate all imperfect people. Article 63 reviews the function of failure: we intentionally avoid it and, when it does occur, we overcome it. It is a growth tool, not an objective. This constructive approach to shortcomings works as we apply appropriate tolerance to others. The conflict scenarios above are stories of intolerance.

To the religiously narrow-minded and to the stubbornly atheistic, I appear as the lunatic fringe. Meanwhile I claim to be at the faithful core of what is genuine religion and genuine science. I attempt to unify nature by seeing every aspect of every question and then synthesizing most reasonable responses in real time. I call that having strength in flexibility—being true to self while accommodating the differences in others.

The behavior disparities above are less injurious to facts than they are to the social order. Whether there is a Hell or whether troops died in conflict has less immediate impact on me than whether my neighbor loves me. If we are unkind to each other (against the advice of article 112), we suffer immediately. On the other hand, being nice to each other improves both of us for a better future. If we treat each other as family, we can overcome weighty differences in the other matters.

Presently applied

My father taught that the first person to raise zir voice in anger loses the argument. Relying on force instead of the persuasion in article 112 is admission of weakness and ignorance. We are naturally attracted to the party who is not angry.

Gridlock and infighting are not marks of a vigorous discussion. Diligent vitality does its homework, but as a matter of helping others to see rather than forcing others to conform. Belligerence (fighting) and denying respect (name-calling) are characteristics of losers.

This discussion means that I am not willing to overpower “the other party.” The immature part of me fantasizes about winning 92% of the vote every time as a sign of clear superiority. The mature discussion in this article realizes the equal value of imperfect people. While contestants are striving to cure errors of facts, anger and discord are the consequential damage. Whether benevolent hospitals should be built by plutocrats or by government is far less important than the fact that the hospitals be built. I eliminate the word “fight” from political discourse because calls to fight for the right always direct energy away from genuine improvement, which is achieved in harmony.

People who are building the world have joy in their progress. They speak by example, making music to my ears. Those who fight for anything repel me from their causes and waste the precious human energy that would otherwise be happiness. The teacher does not fight the disciples. Leadership is helping other people be the most they can be and getting out of the way. It is not driving people where they do not want to go. We must not stress over how the hospital is built by whom. What matters is that it is built. In practice, in the long run, that is done by the universal group we identify as us.

Photo by Bofu Shaw on Unsplash

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