Cowardly. Disloyal. Brutus. Judas. Benedict.
These are all things that once held more weight. There was a time when humanity believed things and believed them with all of their hearts, in spite of any information to the contrary, despite any proof or any argument.
We once would gather our relatives and friends and cross ocean, land, mountains and air to fight for the things we believed in. Now what do we do? We talk about the relativity of truth, the subjectivity of truth. We say things like: “Well that’s good for you to believe that, if that helps you.” but is that true? Imagine a father telling his child: “I’ve found playing in the street to be a poor choice, but that’s only good as long as it’s helpful to you, if you enjoy the adrenaline infused danger and excitement of dodging cars, then I think that’s the right choice for you.” There would be intrigue and lawsuits aplenty.
Why have we begun to love our friends and family, and our enemies so little? When we decided that it was most loving to make others the most comfortable with the choices they’ve made we decided to hate truth and hate logic and rationale. We have hated our friends when we have helped them justify dangerous decisions.
In ancient wars it has been told that a fleet of ships would come to shore to wage war against their enemies and when they make camp, set fire to their sails and stand with their backs to the fire. This was a signal that they believed that there was no need for return, no possibility for retreat, and no option left to the forces being attacked. it was a symbol of absolute dedication to their cause, and absolute conviction of right-standing in their actions.
We have conserved our vessels. I include myself in this, that when we have decided that it made our heart ache to think of hurt coming to a friend we have decided that it would be best if we encourage their poor behaviour or wrong way of thinking and make them feel at home where they are. We leave our ships uncharred because we would never want to start a battle we wouldn’t walk away from.
We don’t believe.
We don’t love truth.
We hate our friends.
Here is what I propose. That we abandon our foolish sophistry and overemphasis on any one virtue, that we do not sacrifice justice for compassion, love for fear, friendship for craftiness. We have come to admire those that speak eloquently about a sensitive issue and somehow don’t offend a soul. Offense is given far too much clout today and I for one no longer want my own offensiveness and offenses against me to hold any more weight than they should. If I believe something, it should come out in everything I do, I don’t hold onto my principals and morals only as long as they help me to fit in and put at ease the most amount of the best people. No, Here is what I do: I will stand and be counted. I will speak boldly, never intending offense but yet believing wholeheartedly that even a surgeon must cut if he is to heal, there must be truth that hurts, that cauterizes, that sterilizes poisoned thought and injurious action.
Subjective relativism, or the belief that at any one time many different conflicting “Truths” can all coexist and not be false, is the most cowardly line of thought a person can embark on. Do not be a coward. Be strong and very courageous. Be impossibly compassionate. Compassionate enough to say what needs to be said to those around. Rip off the bandage and let the air do it’s work.
I feel as though I need to add two concessions. Some may read this and think that I refer to physical force, and although there may come a day when that is necessary, for today physical force is a marker that you have lost all chance to help, to mold, and to grow another human being you have claimed to love. Physical force is always used when there is no understanding from one or both sides of an issue.
Secondly, some of you already do speak out boldly, and too much so. You do verbally what others do physically and batter your enemy into submission. This is what you must not do, it is also cowardly, and it is fearful, and it is of the weakest sort of argument. Instead you must see others not as the enemy, but as fellow soldiers making war on philosophical cowardice, on the movable nature of truth, and of liars who would twist good things taken to their extreme to inflict injury on the real truth, the truest truths. You must beckon them to re-enter the battle. To stand and make their voice known.
So be of good courage. If you have found truth then you must stick by it. You must hold on tightly but listen to reason. Wisdom comes like a cool breeze on a hot day, that when standing on a mount moves away the clouds and shows one’s true position. It cannot be forced that way, It cannot be encouraged, one only needs to put themselves into the most favourable position to accept wisdom and to see the truth when the veil is lifted.
This means reading much, of varied sources. It means listening to others speak without formulating a response until they have finished. It means being humble and putting others first. It means reigning in your meandering mind when you go about other business and intentionally thinking about the most difficult problems and paradoxes your life has presented you with. Looking impossibility in the face fully and completely until has released you from it’s gorgon stare. You must be patient. You must listen first, you must hear truly, and you must know your anchor. From there you will build kingdoms and towers in your mind with walls thick against battle, and you will allow yourself to go down with your ship so you can be raised back from the dead on different ground on another day. Invite destruction for your ideas. Each reincarnation can only compound your wisdom, sometimes this might need to come from your own hand. Destroy yourself again and again, rebuild. Tear down. Rebuild. Repeat.
And when you are standing on solid ground, stand truly and completely, burn the fleet you left at the shore and be confident, not fearful, know the truth, know it as surely as you know yourself, and have been made known by it. Discover ways to think clearer, not by the dulling of the mind but sharpening.
And when the smouldering wreckage of your vessels is seen from far off kingdoms, the call will go out that you are not to be moved, and if your enemy believes that belief itself can be changed and is subjective, you should never have to fight at all.