|Letter to Possible Friend:
On several occasions you have been on the fringe of a conversation after which you asked me for some writings on the content of the conversation. I took the time to oblige you. Each time, my later queries about feedback were met with "I haven't read them yet." These are the questions which you force upon me:
The impact of these questions are more important to you than to me. While disappointed, I did not forego future fishing trips with either you or others because the hole was dry. No man is an island and not every fishing trip is a success. Without fishing trips, one would starve.
Why are these questions more important to you? The answer can be found in another question upon which we bantered recently--values--and in another question that cannot really be asked directly though written below.
Are you happier today with your life than you expected to be when you were in high school? Yes, yes, I know you do many things that you dreamed about in high school. But, do you experience more anxiety, frustration and unhappiness than you expected? I would suggest that if you do, then ,the resolution can be found in the banter about values.
Values are the bedrock or quicksand upon which we base our actions. Said another way, we act from our emotions, that is, emotions move us (which is the origin of the word, e-mote, to cause motion.) Most people choose to accept their gut emotions as true values which no other person can question rather than to pursue refining their values in accord with values that transcend any place or time ... elsewhere or elsetime. This dichotomy has much bearing on our own happiness and other's pain from our motions.
If a person is a collection of unquestioned, disjointed values, they will be a different person at different times. This wreaks havoc on having honest relationships and comes back to haunt the person who lives Socrates "unquestioned life." On a geopolitical scale, we end up with human carnage of the World Trade Center because the Osama Bin Ladens of the world do no question their value systems, preferring to destroy those who do not accept the values with which the OBLs were inculcated in their youths by mere place of birth. Like all people with fragmented personalities, the OBLs are a collection of unjustified hypocrisies. Right now, Osama Bin Laden resents the Arab and non-Arab nations attacking him. Likewise, the OBL in each of us resents the friends who drift away, but it is our unstable values that provide no foundation upon which to build a relationship.
Some people are content with the happiness of many new shallow friendships rather than developing deeper friendships. It is the difference between getting fed from gathering versus growing crops, getting rich from gathering versus mining gold, and getting off from screwing versus making love. Each person has many pivotal points in their lives. One of mine was at the age of sixteen when I realize the need and benefit of building a unified value system so that I would make fewer mistakes that harmed others. I don't mind people disliking me because they don't understand me, but I do mind people disliking me because I did a dis-likable deed. In the former I am not at err while the latter places the do-do in my lap.
(You have said of some of my comments, "Where does this stuff come from?" Well, as I told you [for you to believe or disbelieve], I left home at age eight, weekly shining shoes 40-50 hours to support myself ... of eight kids raised in poverty, only 3 graduated from high school with myself being the only college graduate which I did in two years cum laude from So. Il. Univ. One semester I ace'd 24 credit hours.)
For me, the greatest benefit of my realization and commitment at age 16 of seeking unity in values has been Timism. While timism has many practical insights and applications to physics, economics and politics--among other disciplines--its primary origin and profoundest benefit are in morality. Ironically, and insightful, the origin of the word morality is from "more." More what? More death? More pain? No. More life, time and happiness! The moral person has more of these. Would you want to live in a world of the opposite? The quality of one's life, time and happiness are a reflection of the morality that one creates and shapes with the passing days, weeks and years. I encourage you to set aside two hours a week to review how your values failed you in the previous week in preparation for the human choices of the following week. Of Geo. Santayana's maxim, people sadly fail to realize the mundane meaning of what has all too often been kept in global, historical perspective: Those who don't learn from the past are doomed to repeat it.
Returning to the introductory paragraph, if one over-promises one's time as a premise of friendship, one has fewer friends. The word friend, as I might have told you, comes Middle English for free, freo. A friend helps free us from the problems of life to have the most time in life. Interestingly, above friendship is love which also can be qualified based on the time that one gives the beloved, not bullshit, cheap words. Ironically, and tellingly, the Middle English word for love reflects this relationship to friend--freon.
The universal, absolute values transcend all religions while having much in common with each. The world will be a better place when people question, improve and unify their values. There is not much difference between the non-racist who does not question and the racist that does not question, just a matter of different parents for which the non-racist can take no credit. The evidence of a non-questioning nature may not be as publicly obvious as a hatemonger, but expressions of frustrations, anxieties and unhappiness are evidential.
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