Idle Culture

Writings of a cultural dysfunct

Location: Seattle, United States

Friday, January 07, 2005

If You Say It Enough

If you say it enough, you will believe it. If you believe it, then you will live by it. If you live by it, then you will become it.

This can be said of any belief or ideology, good, bad, or indifferent. What you become is dependent upon what you believe. Beliefs can change and therefore so can people. People who are willing to consider the beliefs of others will forever be open to change, free to reconsider their own beliefs, and become new again.

It is disturbing though to see so many people adopt standards of beliefs that oppose the interchanging of ideas. For far too many people, it is better to cut off voices that are in conflict with their own rather than listening. For these people, any idea outside of their own is automatically an opposing idea and, as such, should be silenced immediately for fear that others might hear. To listen would mean to consider and that it just not an option for those who fear what is not known. Often, the argument that is used by those who silence others is that the only beliefs that can be true are their own, that any other beliefs are only there to cause harm. And so, they say that they are right, they believe that they are right, they live as if they are right, and they become righteous.

A righteous person is a fearful person, one willing to defend themselves even when they are shown that they are hurting others in their beliefs. We have all seen the destruction that the righteous causes—war, genocide, racism, etc. When a righteous person is exposed to a belief that is not congruent with their own belief system, they react with total contempt and assume the responsibility to quiet the belief. When a belief system allows and/or condones the inhumane treatment of others then that belief system must be based on ignorance and fear.

Living a morally good life is not restricted to only one belief system. Most of the ideologies that humans abide by strive for the same goals but go about living in different manners. It can be found within one single belief system that there are even further subsets that divide them and so it should be expected that disagreements among and between belief systems will occur. When conflict arises, the first reaction should not be one of contempt but should instead focus on what is commonly shared between the disagreeing sides. Heavy-handedness will only result in further division amongst people that are in all actuality living their lives with the same goals in mind—to live meaningful lives.

Unfortunately, it only takes one righteous person to convince others that there is a threat to their belief system. One person with a keen eye for manipulation of people who fear what is on the other side of the curtain is capable of creating hysteria. When this person sees the control that can be had if the masses believe in the fear, it is likely that their righteousness will grow steadily. Once fear of other belief systems is planted in the minds of the people, the righteous person will use it to their own advantage.

But just as it only takes one righteous person to cause harm to others, it also only takes one self-thinking person to set an example for the good of open-mindedness. The Good that exists in this world far outweighs the Evil that the righteous warns about. Acts of kindness and love are rarely reported in a world dominated by the fear generated by the righteous. But that does not mean that Good does not exist. In order to see the Good, though, you have to maintain an open and free-thinking mind capable of ignoring the fear that is radiated from the righteous and willing to learn about the beliefs and ideas of others. One person who is able to free himself from the hysteria of the generated fear is capable of overturning the malevolent voices of the righteous.

If humanity begins to say that Good exists, then it will believe in the existence of Good. If it believes in the existence of Good, then it will live by the principles of Good. If it lives by the principles of Good, then it will become Good.

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